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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# sweet dreams
Night of the living fed: Krispy Kreme after dark took a trip to Krispy Kreme last night – all in the name of journalistic integrity. / YouTube

WE THOUGHT WE’D reached the peak of the doughnut craze. We were wrong. 

Ireland has been awash with glazed hunks of sugar for a long time. But they were usually available from supermarkets – five jam ones for a few bob. None of your fancy stuff. 

But over the last 18 months or so, it’s become more common to see pop-up doughnut shacks squashed inside your local convenience store. 

The hipsters came too, of course. 

They brought their vegan cronuts and their artisan coffee – draped their offerings in fair trade golden syrup and charged you half your rent for the trouble. And you paid. My God how you paid. Those Instagram likes were worth the poverty, right? 

But, like most other food crazes, we may have thought we had reached peak doughnut in recent months. Shutters were pulled on a number of businesses and we waited for the next big thing – deconstructed burgers where you chop your own lettuce, probably. 

Alas, that’s when Krispy Kreme arrived into Blanchardstown in the west of the capital. It offered a 24 hour drive-through. Cue hysteria. Hysteria and very long queues. 

The store, which is the first of the chains outlets to open in Ireland, closed at 11pm, but the company also operated a 24-hour drive-through. 

Krispy Kreme opened the outlet on Wednesday of last week, with hundreds queuing before 7am on the opening day to place an order. 

And they kept on coming. The tailbacks became so severe that the firm’s management had been forced to shut the drive-through last night.

Frequent beeping of car horns at 1am meant that those living in an apartment complex 200 metres away were unable to sleep.

So, in the name of journalistic integrity, decided to head down for a look.

Salim Sanehi / Facebook

Driving from the office in Dublin city centre at 10.30pm last night the roads were as you’d expect: empty. The Navan Road was a ghost town, save for the odd headlight heading towards the city. 

A fork left off and around a roundabout and we’re into Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. This is where things change. The lights, the din, the snaking queue open up in front of me – all mashed together as the pungent smell of sweet baked doughnuts filters through and mixes with the nearby bang of McDonald’s (it’s not a great combo). 

It was an almost carnival-like atmosphere. The steady stream of cars arriving, young lads and girls whooping, dads bringing their kids for a treat and the taxi man who finished his shift and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. 

A Krispy Kreme staff member made sure that the queue behaved itself and that there was nobody cutting in. Elsewhere, there were glimpses of staff members handing out branded hats, till workers were flat out tapping cards and taking cash. Other staff had to keep the place looking good – a tough task considering the volume of people. 

 One staff member told us, it had been a “mad house” all week. 

“It’s been a mad house for a week. This is probably the quietest I’ve seen it in a long time. There was one night, someone was finishing around 4.30 in the morning and then they saw her in her uniform and then the cars started beeping and the lads started shouting and roaring. You can’t have that when there’s young families around the corner trying to sleep. I completely understand why this is happening.” 

IMG_0231 Garreth MacNamee / The queue at 10.45pm last night. Garreth MacNamee / /

So we’re shutting it down for a week to see if they behave themselves – if they don’t then it’ll stay shut. 

While down there, we observed a number of young people gathered outside the shop, most without any doughnuts to be seen. A lot of people didn’t want to give their names and admit they were queuing for an hour for a treat at 11pm on a Wednesday night. 

But then the lads arrived – two guys from nearby Mulhuddart. George Weah (I think he may have been lying) and Sean Delaney said they’ve been coming down here each night for fun. 

Sean, who claimed he was a second year computer science student in DIT, said:  “It’s a bit like a house party all the time. People are coming down and having a bit of craic. I can understand why they’re closing earlier than usual but that’s the way it goes. It’s cheaper than going to the pub anyway.”

A taxi driver sitting in the drive-through queue didn’t want to give his name but said he was so intrigued by what was happening that he had to come and check.

001Krispy Kreme_90554899 Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland The drive-through. Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

“It’s all over the news and I was dropping a lad in here anyway so I said I’d give it a go. I’ve been here a half hour and I say I’ve another half hour ahead of me. I’d get out of the queue and go home now but I can’t move. So I’m here for the foreseeable.”

Security from the Blanchardstown centre was drafted in last night due to Krispy Kreme’s decision to shut the drive-through at 11.30pm yesterday. The guard, arranging his cones to block the entrance to the drive-through, shook his head when asked for a chat. 

The trip to Krispy Kreme after dark was strange to say the least. The passion to get doughnuts at an ungodly hour was startling. The shell-shocked faces on the staff as they looked at the seemingly never-ending conveyor belt of hungry and agitated people is still etched on my conscience.

Whipping doughnuts from ovens, precision sugar powdering, glazing away as fast as they could go, their company sergeant barking: “MORE CHOCOLATE DREAMCAKES. HAS ANYONE ANY NUTTY CHOCOLATTA?”

Yes, that’ll stay with me. I didn’t even get a doughnut in the end.

We all thought doughnuts had gone the way of the burrito. We were wrong.

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