- a blog about food and value

Hot cross swans

swan-mysteryI’m hoping the good readers of CheapEats can help me solve a mystery involving swans, hot cross buns, and the Grand Canal.

Yesterday evening I took a stroll from Dolphin’s Barn down to Baggot Street. SnackBox and I enocuntered three dead lobsters along the canal, opposite an old bearded man with long white hair who was feeding a packet of hot cross buns to the greedy, lucky swans.

“Put down those hot cross buns, sure there’s lobsters over there,” SnackBox said to the old man, who responded by completely ignoring him. We walked on.

But as we strolled from Harold’s Cross down to Portobello College, we began to step around hundreds of hot cross buns. Hundreds. The entire stretch was strewn with hot cross buns and the gorging swans were waddling with glee (of course, as all sensible ornithologists know, swan obesity is a growing problem).

swan-lake2At different intervals, walkers, the homeless, and a few slightly deranged mutterers, were were emptying out more big bags full of hot cross buns to join the hundreds that were already there. We asked a few people where all these hot cross buns came from: were they being given away by a shop? Were they on special offer, leading some sort of impromptu swan conglomerate to hold a feast for birds? Our questions were met with hostility, demented growls, or indifference.

And so it remains a mystery. Where did the not cross buns come from? Are they being given away for free often? Why were they everywhere? Why would nobody tell me? Oh, and where did the dead lobsters come from? Answers on a postcard please.


  1. There is a bakery in Cork that regularly dumps their excess stock in the Lough. Maybe its the same thing on the canal.

  2. Surely that’s littering, and illegally dumping?

  3. Yesterday I saw the swans gorging on a big pile of boiled rice. then a few paces up 2 giant naans.

    WTF is going on

  4. That’s the weirdest conbimation of things I’ve heard of in a while. How curious.

  5. The fella with the white beard usually leaves baguettes and other bread stuffs in that area every week or so. It’s probably discarded Cuisine de France he finds in a skip.

  6. It is peter and it really piddles me off.

  7. Hi what is wrong with someone feeding swans. It makes a change from someone trying to do them harm or even kill them which has been done before by sick people. There is no such thing as obese swans, in fact they would be quite hungry. I work for an animal organisation and its great to see people feeding them.

  8. If you work for an animal organisation, surely you shouldn’t be encouraging people to feed ducks and swans, as this increases their dependence on humans for food. Also, feeding causes them to congregate together, which can increase the spread of diseases.

    And I think that as general rule of thumb, dumping is a bad thing.

  9. Its about feeding them the right stuff, vegetables and fruit instead of day old scones.

  10. I too saw a pile of hot cross buns at the corner of Pearse Street and Westland Row on Friday. Weird!

  11. Even if sugar-filled hot cross buns are suitable food for birds, which I’m not convinced they are, the littering is pretty terrible. If you want to feed the birds, go feed them by feeding them, not by scattering crap everywhere!