Made by an Armenian in the city of Cork, Hadji Beys Turkish delight has a story that beggars belief, writes MARIE-CLAIRE DIGBY, was once one of Ireland’s most successful exports, selling in Harrods of London and Macy’s in New York, and being supplied to Buckingham Palace.

The opulent pink and yellow boxes, embossed in silver, went back on shop shelves last year when Newbridge confectionery maker Leo Cummins re-established the brand, 40 years after Eddie Batmazian, Harutun’s son, closed the business in Cork.

There is even a documentary about the story of the shop: Hadji Bey Milseáin na Tuirce i gCorcaigh is a TG4 documentary directed by RoseAnn Foley and presented by her sister Catherine Foley, which tells the story of Batmazian and his exotic sweetmeats. The film includes rarely viewed footage of Cork city in the early 1900s by filmmakers Mitchell Kenyon, with contributions from historian and writer Diarmuid Ó Drisceol, TV presenter and producer Pat Butler, writer Prof Alan Titley, and Pól Ruiséil of Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha, the Centre for Oral Irish, at UCC.

Two of Batmazian’s grandchildren, Dolores Cunningham and Derek O’Sullivan, also feature, and describe the difficulties their grandfather and his wife Esther had to overcome in their early years in Cork.

Having fled persecution in their homeland, the couple were mistakenly identified as Turks by soldiers returning from the first World War, and their shop on Lower Glanmire Road was burned down. When they reopened on McCurtain Street, Batmazian had a legal document drawn up, called Live and Let Live, which he hoped would explain his heritage and protect his business. In the event, his superior confectionery, made with ingredients imported from all over the world, spoke for itself, and became a firm favourite in Ireland and beyond.

Coronavirus Notice

 

Our charity is working hard to respond to the changing situation around Coronavirus (COVID-19) related issues. We do our best to continue to provide our services for our members and the Armenian community at large and ask for your patience during this challenging time.

Our staff and volunteers are working hard to continue supporting you in the best way that we can, whilst also staying on top of reducing risk of spreading infection and supporting our colleague who may be more at risk.

However, due to the current situation and in the best interest of all of us, we had to make some changes to our normal services. Starting from Monday 16 March 2020, all our services including the face-to-face advice work, the Parents & Toddlers Group, the English classes, Library, the elders lunch club and the youth club are suspended until further notice.

We ask that anyone experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or having to self-isolate due to being exposed to someone with coronavirus, does not attend Hayashen until further notice and call NHS 111 for advice.

However, as we wish to support you as best as we can, our advice work continues by telephone, email and online. You may contact us on 020 89924621 or use our website (www.caia.org.uk) to leave an enquiry or email us on info@caia.org.uk

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The main symptoms of Coronavirus are high fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, loss of or changes in your normal sense of smell or taste, but for full details, including Government guidelines and precautions you should take, please search for “Coronavirus” on the following Government and NHS websites.

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If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you.

Misak Ohanian (CEO) & CAIA Board of Directors.           20 June 2020