They may not be set to break any world records, but a Galway grandmother is definitely feeling chipper thanks to her latest spud crop.
Mary Ellen O’Connor from Kilkerrin was continuing her family’s 70-year-long family tradition when she sowed six ridges near her home.
She put different varieties in each of the ridges but when she went to dig them up last week, what came out of one of the rows left the others in the shade — literally.
They weigh in at more than 1kg each and since they came out of the ground, her grandsons Michael, 4, and Matthew, 3, have been having fun comparing them to the size of their faces.
“I sowed different varieties in each ridge but none of the others yielded anything like the size of those ones. I am entering them in competitions at various agricultural shows around Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon,” said Mary Ellen.
“One of the potatoes has grown into an unusual shape that resembles a teddy bear sitting down and I am entering that in competitions at the shows too.”
The grandmother, and keen gardener, has been told by a retired garden centre owner that her giant spuds may be a variety called Sapro Mira.
He told her that, while they can grow large tubers, it is unusual for them to reach this size.
They are said to be tasty and floury potatoes with long storage potential.
“We didn’t give any special treatment or put any different fertiliser on that ridge,” said Mary Ellen. “That is why the size of the potatoes there has surprised us all.”
While there is no specific weight for what people might call a “big potato”, gardening experts say that the larger varieties can grow up to 340g, or in rare cases up to 450g.
Those who purchase the latest book of Guinness World Records, which is due to start selling from today and which has been marking the extremes of achievement since 1955, will likely be able to find out how the size of the largest potato in the world.
They will also get to view a multitude of other weird and wonderful records.
For example, the youngest woman with a full beard is English woman and body-positive campaigner Harnaam Kaur, who says her place in Guinness World Records is “absolutely humbling” as her beard, which is 15cm long in places has been part of her quest to overcome years of bullying to cope with her appearance.
She has polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal condition that causes her to grow excess facial hair.
Harnaam, who is recorded as the youngest female with a full beard at the age of 24 years 282 days, has already made her mark as anti-bullying activist and catwalk model.
Austrian stunt man Josef Toedtling, 36, made it into the record book for a full body burn — or being set alight — with no oxygen, which lasted 5 mins 41 seconds. He beat the previous record by 16 seconds.
Josef, who has 49 movie credit including the 2015 remake of Point Break, also holds the record for farthest distance pulled by a vehicle during a full body burn, reaching 582m.
Being set alight is among the skills he has learned on film sets over his career. He applies a flame retardant gel to his face but everything else is on fire, said Guinness World Records.
Businessman Jim Bolin — who wanted to create a record-breaking attraction which would help his beloved home town of Casey, Illinois, get back on its feet after the recession — now holds eight records.
The 61-year-old’s record- breaking items include:
The largest clogs, measuring 3.5m long, 1.77m wide, and 1.48m tall;
The largest mailbox, measuring 162.63sq m;
The largest knitting needles, measuring 3.98m long with a diameter of 8.25cm;
The largest crochet hook, measuring 1.87m long and a diameter of 7.6cm (3in);
The largest golf tee, measuring 9.37m long with a head diameter of 1.91m and a shaft width of 64cm;
The largest pitchfork, measuring 18.65m long and 2.56m wide;
The largest rocking chair, measuring 17.09m tall and 9.99m wide;
And the largest wind chime, which comes in measuring 12.80m.
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