That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, in conversation with Jason Corrigan, owner and award-winning master craft butcher at Corrigan’s Butchers.
“I have two award-winning butcher shops located in Drumcondra and Finglas, Dublin.
Corrigans are a third-generation butchers with a team of dedicated colleagues, drawing on generations of history and experience, married with innovation, to offer uncompromising quality and great customer service.
The name Corrigan has been synonymous with butchering in Dublin for over 40 years. In the 1970s, Corrigan’ of Wexford Street was a well-known destination for traditional butchery.
Both my grandfathers, their brothers, my father and uncles on both sides of the family were butchers.
I started off butchering in my uncle’s (Pat Cluxton) shop, also an award-winning butcher who, in turn, had trained with my grand-uncle, Peter Corrigan, (past president of the Dublin Master Victuallers Association) and my grandfather, Charlie.
I began my career in Cluxtons of Cabra, where I started off cleaning and doing deliveries on my bike around Cabra and surrounding areas.
I progressed to being taught how to break bone, display cuts of meat, and deal with customers.
While serving my time there as an apprentice butcher, I attended The College of Marketing and Design in Mountjoy Square on Monday mornings before going to an abattoir in the afternoon in Mount Pleasant Place to learn how to prepare lamb and beef for a butcher shop.
After finishing my four-year apprenticeship, I also did a diploma in meat management. I left butchering for a year, trying a few different jobs, but continued to work on Saturdays in a butcher shop and kept my hand in the business.
Then aged 23, I bought my uncle’s shop in Finglas as he was retiring, which I still own to this day.
I worked on an uncle’s family dairy farm in Kildare for a summer, where I learnt how to milk a herd of Friesian cows, baled hay and helped to start developing my understanding of the farm-to-fork concept.
Our mission is to deliver uncompromising quality to our customers.
We are deeply committed to preserving the knowledge, values, and expertise of our craft, which have been handed down through generations of butchers.
We are passionate about upholding the art and skills of traditional butchering while also continuously innovating to offer our customers the best possible products and new experiences.
We feel that our place is at the heart of our community, and we do our utmost to remain there on a daily basis.
Our tagline is: Corrigan Artisan Butchers, purveyors of fine foods.
We stock a wide variety of fresh meats, an excellent fish counter and fresh vegetables.
We also have a huge range of food products and accompaniments for our customers’ meals, including sauces/glazes, condiments, herbs and a barbecue range including charcoal and desserts. We have everything from flame to food.
I employ traditionally skilled butchers, sales assistants and a production team from Ireland and different nationalities.
Trusted, quality suppliers
We source our products from trusted, quality suppliers who we have an established relationship with over many years, both local and national. We have full traceability of all our products.
As there are no longer any abbatoirs in Dublin, we source our beef, lamb, pork and chicken from quality, trusted suppliers who we have dealt with for many years.
We have worked hard to create destination shops: places where our customers know our staff have the experience and knowledge to help them create their perfect meal and stock a large range of great quality products. We are still a dedicated nose-to-tail butcher
I am a founding member of the Irish Butchers’ Guild, which is a group of passionate and innovative independent butchers and meat experts from around the country, north and south.
We are dedicated to delivering uncompromising quality, craftsmanship and innovation. All of our members are highly experienced, knowledgeable and skilled butchers.
Some of our most prestigious accolades to date include: McKenna Guide, Best BBQ display in Ireland 2022 and Best overall BBQ product, as judged and presented by Neven Maguire.
Winning numerous awards over the years which reflect our constant innovation and top quality has been a highlight.
We have won a number of other awards for products ranging from our burgers to spice beef.
I enjoy the interaction with customers and always learning new things.
Managing a business is hard and can be challenging, even more so in recent years, and this does take its toll.
Small businesses would benefit from more support in areas, including mental health, simplifying red tape, interpreting EU/Irish laws and accessing financial supports e.g. grants and staffing.
Highlights include growing my original shop from a staff of just one (myself) to building a great team and then expanding to opening my second shop five years ago.
Corrigans is now an integral part of the local community and have built up a great relationship with our customers. A happy customer is and always will be a highlight.
To be successful in this field, you need to have a great family and team behind you, be always willing to try new things, ask for advice and a willingness to work hard.
In 1990, there were 2,300 independent butcher shops in Ireland and in 2023, there are less than 700, which is a 70% decline, and more continue to close.
The quality of butcher shops in Ireland is the best we have ever had.
There will always be a place in the community for shops selling quality products but will require investment and support in the sector.
Our aim is to continue to grow both shops, evolving to meet customer needs, and becoming more environmentally conscious.
I have two young children who hopefully will start to help in the shops over the next few years. If they have a passion for the business as I do, I will help them as much as I can to continue the tradition.
I would encourage people who read this article on That’s Farming to think about the food they buy, shop local and support small businesses in their area.
Moreover, I recognise time is precious, and it can be easier to do all the weekly shopping in one place, i.e. supermarket.
I would urge people to support their local butcher, baker, fishmonger, corner shop, florist etc.
These small businesses are excellent sources of employment in the areas, help the local economy, support the local community, support local farming – they can easily be forgotten when we put everything into one basket.”
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