Located in Lisdoonvarna, the Burren Smokehouse was founded by Peter and Birgitta Curtin in 1989. The Curtins believe that Smoking is an Art and a Craft and use only locally sourced Irish Organic and Wild products. The Company employs 20 people. Using unique patented smoking methods, the Burren Smokehouse started with the smoking and curing of salmon and later branched out into mackerel, trout, and eel. The many awards for the quality of their products and the ethos of the company speak to their high standards. They carefully source quality raw materials and control their own quality standards with a backup of regular testing from independent laboratories and regular checks from organisations that certify them.
The Burren Smokehouse was one of the suppliers of the State Dinner during the visit of Elizabeth II to Ireland in 2011 and in May 2019 King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden came to the Burren Smokehouse to learn about artisan food production in the Burren. The company also offers an interactive visitor centre called “Taste the Atlantic – Salmon Experience” where you can follow the Salmon of Knowledge through history from its legend to modern day stories, and solve jigsaw puzzles and quizzes. The Burren Smokehouse is one of the organizers and participants of the yearly Burren Slow Food Festival.
The Burren Smokehouse has a retail space selling local food produce and runs an excellent online shop that delivers all over the world. It was awarded “Best Online Premium Smoked Fish Retailer 2021” in the Irish Enterprise Awards 2021, hosted by EU Business News.
The Burren Smokehouse has begun to source oysters from another GEOfood producer, Flaggy Share Oysters Crassostrea gigas and adding these oysters to its range of smoked products.
Oysters have been harvested along the Irish Coast for 4000 years and commercially grown since the 13th Century. Recent excavations of shell middens in Fanore showed that oysters were part of the diet of our first hunter-gatherer population.
The Land and Sea
Flaggy Shore Oysters are sourced in the small bays on the northern coast of the Burren. In this area the sea is intimately linked to the land. The limestone hills of the Burren that form a wonderful backdrop to the wild coast have very little surface water, most rainwater flows hidden in underground conduits and caves before entering the sea just offshore. These underground freshwater rivers transport nutrients from the land that nourish the oysters, as well as the carbonate they need to build their shells. This carbonate comes directly from the dissolving limestone and the fossils in the limestone, so it is accurate to say that 330-million-year-old fossil shells contribute directly to the shells of the Flaggy Shore oysters we eat here. In time, some of these oyster shells will be buried offshore and become fossils themselves.
The Burren Smokehouse is an early member of the Burren Ecotourism Network of sustainable tourism businesses and adheres to the Geopark Code of Practice in Sustainable Tourism and is Certified Origin Green, Ireland’s food and drink sustainability programme.
For more information on the Burren Smokehouse, visit www.burrensmokehouse.com/
Most Photographs by Eamon Ward Photography