History of our shop –
This is our home. Main Street in Castlebar in County Mayo.
We liked the shape of it. It has been a continuously running butcher shop since at least, 1812. The man we rent it off is Martin McHale. He has worked as a butcher out of this building since 1976.
Before that the Flannelly family had it. Patrick Flannelly, who ran it as a butcher shop prior to Martin, and who grew up in the house, came in to Seán the first week he was in the shop with information on his family history in the building. He gave him a copy of the front page of the Connaught Telegraph on June 1st 1889 which displayed an advertisement for the shop, then run by his grandfather.
He had a photograph, or part of a photograph, of the building next door, which at that time was a pharmacy. The photograph happened to capture the panel that the shop has on the left hand side for advertising (which ironically the planning office would not allow us to use in a similar way!) It clearly shows details of the Flannelly dynasty in the building and dates the business back to 1812.
A lot of history between four walls. We love that! I wonder was it a butcher shop before that? And what was Main Street like in 1812? We’re going to look into it and post here. We’re lucky that there are great photographers from Castlebar – Thomas Wynne whose collection is housed in the library in Castlebar, and Campbell’s on Spencer Street. We have plenty of resourses to get started with!
Before we had a home –
I wanted to keep the following post in an active part of the blog – just as a reminder of what we had set out to do. It was written long before we found our spot on Main Street.
De Búrca Traditional Butcher shop is currently looking for a home. It has been in gestation for many years and finally it is going to be born in the next few months. It is a very exciting time for us starting our own business. We have two full-time jobs and two wonderful little girls but still this niggling thing has always been there, in the backs of our minds, to start our own butcher shop and to do it the way we think it should be done. We believe that using the traditional methods of processing meat is the better method.
- Locally sourcing meat;
- Using a local abattoir;
- Using the correct dry-aging processes suitable for that meat:
- Butchering of whole animals which will allow the use of lesser known traditional cuts.
Using these methods automatically means that the animal is treated more humanely as the process is a local process. The meat is treated in a proven age-old traditional way that results in the best possible final product for the customer. These traditional methods will be married to a contemporary system of traceability, made simpler by the local nature of the sourcing of meat.
In-shop, meat and poultry as well as being presented in the usual whole meat form, will also be available to the customer in a ready-meal format. This ready-meal format will use healthy herbs and spices, and will be exactly what a customer would prepare at home if time was not at a premium. Quality should not be sacrificed when opting for a more convenient time-saving dinner option.
Recently we have been trying to pinpoint why our loyalties lean towards the importance of locality when setting up our shop. We have found recently that our local area is important to us. Having children seems for us to have done away with the complacency we probably felt when we were younger when it came to things like the impact we make on the environment, the importance of maintaining a local community that supports a local economy. We see all around the breakdown of the local town centre in favour of the large supermarkets on the edge of town. And while there is room for these supermarkets also, there should be room for the local shop that serves the local people and creates a selling point for the local farmer and vegetable producer.
We hope to do a little bit in De Búrca’s in helping maintain the natural historical market centre of our town.