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Why are bakeries and fishmongers relatively rare in Ireland?

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  • 18-09-2019 1:23pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 777 ✭✭✭


    I'm from the Netherlands and I have been living in dublin for 2 years now.

    What I really really miss here, is the bakeries. In the netherlands, every village has at least a bakery and every neighbourhood in a larger city would have several bakeries. You can get not only bread but also local pastries which differ per region and you can sometimes even order custom cakes for birthdays.

    When I moved to Dublin I was shocked about how there aren't bakeries everywhere. Yes, the Lidl has a (relatively good) bakery inside, the quality of the bakeries inside other supermarkets is variable at best. But why isn't there just like... a bakery? Like a separate store?

    And yes, I know that they are not completely absent from Ireland. In south city center dublin yes there are a couple bakeries. But these seem very expensive and the quality is often not worth the price. When you live out in the suburbs (such as Clongriffin where I used to live), no bakery is in sight.

    The same goes for fishmongers by the way, yes the supermarket has fish but why are there so few actual fishmongers? The only thing yous seem to have here is butchers, but I've repeatedly come back from the butcher empty handed because they only had a few cuts on sale and that's it, couldn't give me anything custom or out of the ordinary. Offal? Forget about it. A fattier cut of lamb meant for stewing? Nope, only chops.

    Why is the quality of food shops here so low (except real south inner city dublin)?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,812 ✭✭✭✭sbsquarepants


    I wouldn't have thought we were that short on bakeries but fishmongers yes, for an island nation we don't really seem to have much of a taste for seafood! I'm certainly not a fan of it myself.


  • Registered Users Posts: 777 ✭✭✭machaseh


    I wouldn't have thought we were that short on bakeries but fishmongers yes, for an island nation we don't really seem to have much of a taste for seafood! I'm certainly not a fan of it myself.

    Of course you do have chippers everywhere, but sometimes I want my fish to be well... not deep fried !

    The best option for fish seems to be the ethnic Chinese stores in dublin city center now, or you would actually have to go all the way to howth. The fish in Dunnes store is not always of good quality, I have repeatedly had ray that was past its prime or other fish that I wouldn't even touch it didn't look fresh.

    In the netherlands, most shopping centres would have a fishmonger and in the villages there would be a stand with fresh fish (which also sells our superior variety of deep fried fish, kibbeling) at least once a week in any neighbourhood or village.

    Also why can't I get eel anywhere around here? It is a delicacy where I'm from, and I am pretty sure that the Irish lakes and rivers are full of eels.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 213 ✭✭Pineapple1


    Im just guessing here but Irish people love convenience - being able to get everything they need under one roof.


  • Registered Users Posts: 777 ✭✭✭machaseh


    Pineapple1 wrote: »
    Im just guessing here but Irish people love convenience - being able to get everything they need under one roof.

    I get that but we would have a bakery right next to the supermarket for such things, for example, in the same little shopping center.

    In general the food stores would be within walking distance of a supermarket.

    Now when there's a lidl, I am all good, the bakery in lidl is probably better than most Irish stand alone bakeries (the few of them that exist at all), but the other supermarkets don't always have good stuff. Dunnes is okay but overpriced, and tesco and the smaller spars/centras are not that good.


  • Registered Users Posts: 634 ✭✭✭Space Dog


    machaseh wrote: »
    Also why can't I get eel anywhere around here? It is a delicacy where I'm from, and I am pretty sure that the Irish lakes and rivers are full of eels.

    I think eel stocks in Ireland are endangered and fishing is restricted. I sometimes get local Irish eel in two Japanese restaurants here. Japanese restaurants in Ireland will also serve eel that is imported from Asia. I think most people wouln't want eel here anyway, it's not something they're used to and would be considered unappealing by most.

    In the West there are quite a few fish mongers and seafood restaurants that are quite popular. You also get more than just salmon, cod and haddock.

    Regarding bread: The few bakeries we have around here focus on cakes and sweet treats. Bread is an afterthought and usually quite bland. Once again I think that people are happy eating sandwiches made with white sliced pan, something they grew up with. I need to go to farmers markets to get bread that is closer to the bread I know from home.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 777 ✭✭✭machaseh


    Space Dog wrote: »
    I think eel stocks in Ireland are endangered and fishing is restricted. I sometimes get local Irish eel in two Japanese restaurants here. Japanese restaurants in Ireland will also serve eel that is imported from Asia. I think most people wouln't want eel here anyway, it's not something they're used to and would be considered unappealing by most.

    In the West there are quite a few fish mongers and seafood restaurants that are quite popular. You also get more than just salmon, cod and haddock.

    Regarding bread: The few bakeries we have around here focus on cakes and sweet treats. Bread is an afterthought and usually quite bland. Once again I think that people are happy eating sandwiches made with white sliced pan, something they grew up with. I need to go to farmers markets to get bread that is closer to the bread I know from home.

    I mean we have the processed factory bread in the Netherlands as well but many people would prefer to pay a few pennies more for real artisanal bread. It's sad that this 'better bread' is still not very popular in Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,731 ✭✭✭jam_mac_jam


    machaseh wrote: »
    I mean we have the processed factory bread in the Netherlands as well but many people would prefer to pay a few pennies more for real artisanal bread. It's sad that this 'better bread' is still not very popular in Ireland.

    It is a pity, in the past there was more but the popularity of supermarkets has meant its less common. In Northern Ireland it is much more common, I would love to know why it died down here but continued in Northern Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,731 ✭✭✭jam_mac_jam


    machaseh wrote: »
    I get that but we would have a bakery right next to the supermarket for such things, for example, in the same little shopping center.

    In general the food stores would be within walking distance of a supermarket.

    Now when there's a lidl, I am all good, the bakery in lidl is probably better than most Irish stand alone bakeries (the few of them that exist at all), but the other supermarkets don't always have good stuff. Dunnes is okay but overpriced, and tesco and the smaller spars/centras are not that good.

    Supervalu is also quite good for bread, in particular brown bread.


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,786 ✭✭✭✭L1011


    The biggest producer in Europe (as far as I know) of frozen parbaked products for shops to finish off and sell as "freshly baked" is Irish (Cuisine de France and their other brands - the Irish half of Aryzta). We have so many shops, from small newsagents up, knocking out "freshly baked" parbakes that the market is eaten up. And fish isn't particularly popular as a food here except for bland white cod/codalikes and smoked salmon which every supermarket sells

    Maynooth has an actual bakery, an award winning fishmonger, a proper greengrocer and a traditional butcher. I also have a milkman and newspaper delivery. Its like living in a very expensive, wannabe-posh version of 1950s :pac:


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,340 ✭✭✭phormium


    machaseh wrote: »
    I mean we have the processed factory bread in the Netherlands as well but many people would prefer to pay a few pennies more for real artisanal bread. It's sad that this 'better bread' is still not very popular in Ireland.

    And that there is exactly the reason, people will not actually pay the extra, it's more than a few pennies to be fair but it's all about cost in general. A nice bakery opened in a nearby town, I predicted they wouldn't last long as personally I thought they were too cheap and wouldn't be able to sustain selling at that price even though people complained about the cost of the cakes, they were shut before their first birthday.

    Second one opened couple of years previously actually charged proper price that was needed for their products, they closed too as of course they couldn't sell enough to stay in business.

    I often buy bread at local farmers market, now it's lovely but it is not next nor near as cheap as a supermarket, that's fine for me I only want a loaf every now and then, if I had to be buying bread everyday for kids lunches or similar I'm afraid cost would come into it too. It's ridiculously cheap in supermarkets, no one could compete. BTW I never consider Aldi/Lidl to be bakeries, more tanning salons for half baked stuff.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,506 ✭✭✭caviardreams


    I honestly think it's the convenience factor in a lot of cases rather than the cost necessarily - like the bakeries in M&S and Donnybrook Fair are very popular and pricey enough compared to your brennans pan or whatever. It's the one stop shop element and convenient parking in supermarkets/general food stores etc. that is the big advantage imo.

    Plus the in store "bakeries" in some supermarkets are decent enough quality imo - supervalu as somebody mentioned previously & M&S, Lidl have some decent products in their bakeries too - a bakery might be a 10% better product but if it means going a bit out of your way most people will just be happy enough with a decent supermarket product.


  • Registered Users Posts: 32,381 ✭✭✭✭rubadub


    machaseh wrote: »
    Why are bakeries and fishmongers relatively rare in Ireland?

    this guy has the answer!
    machaseh wrote: »
    seem very expensive and the quality is often not worth the price.

    Also families have changed. The former "housewife" is working a job outside the home now, with less time to go around various specialist retailers like butchers, green grocers, bakeries. There are less children per family nowadays to eat freshly baked bread before it goes stale. I guess people are likely eat less bread overall too for health reasons too. There is rarely a sliced pan in my house these days. I got some bread (rolls) in the other day for the first time in a few weeks.

    I was quite bewildered during the "big snow" and all the bread mania going on, I reckon they sold a lot more then than they usually do, people just jumping on the band/breadwagon.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,410 ✭✭✭✭road_high


    There was a big tradition of home baking here in the past- each house wife had her own brown bread recipe and made it almost daily at home and had a big flour supply- one reason why we may not have a big local bakery tradition. Plus the supermarkets ran them out of business in the 80s


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,292 ✭✭✭0lddog


    machaseh wrote: »
    .......The same goes for fishmongers by the way, yes the supermarket has fish but why are there so few actual fishmongers?.......

    There used to be lots of fishmongers frequently they also sold poultry.

    One by one they closed.

    Couldnt turn a profit ?
    Easier living to be earned elsewhere ?
    Value of shop so high they couldnt resist cashing in ?

    Also, the wholesale fish market is not what it used to be

    The demise of the 'mixed box' was a terrible blow to some fishmongers

    Not many greengrocers left either :( and once again the wholesale fruit & veg market is no more


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,731 ✭✭✭jam_mac_jam


    road_high wrote: »
    There was a big tradition of home baking here in the past- each house wife had her own brown bread recipe and made it almost daily at home and had a big flour supply- one reason why we may not have a big local bakery tradition. Plus the supermarkets ran them out of business in the 80s
    Forgot that reason. It was quite common to make soda bread would definitely contribute to the lack of traditional bakeries.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,004 ✭✭✭✭the beer revolu


    Forgot that reason. It was quite common to make soda bread would definitely contribute to the lack of traditional bakeries.

    But back when many homes made their own soda bread, there were plenty of bakeries!


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,812 ✭✭✭✭sbsquarepants


    machaseh wrote: »
    In the netherlands, most shopping centres would have a fishmonger and in the villages there would be a stand with fresh fish (which also sells our superior variety of deep fried fish, kibbeling) at least once a week in any neighbourhood or village.
    .

    Never heard of kibbeling, what is it? Is it a fish species or a method of cooking or what.
    But back when many homes made their own soda bread, there were plenty of bakeries!

    My missus makes soda bread all the time, it's very nice but i rarely eat it (i'm not much of a bread eater) but herself and the kids love it!


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,464 ✭✭✭✭Alun


    Never heard of kibbeling, what is it? Is it a fish species or a method of cooking or what.
    It's just little chunks of fish battered and deep fried, nothing that special to be honest, just a bit easier to eat as a street snack than a whole piece of fish.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 129 ✭✭GRACKEA


    Because our government licks multinational corporate hole and small/local/independent businesses don't stand a chance. Sad because we have such lovely produce available but it's all homogenised by big brands or exported.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,376 ✭✭✭jack of all


    Thanks for starting this thread. Our family spent a 2 week holiday in West Clare over the summer, lots of bread but couldn't buy fresh fish anywhere! No fish at all in the large Tesco in Kilrush, no fish shop in Kilkee, Miltownmalbay or Lahinch. There's a small fish shop near Doonbeg with limited opening times, limited choice and expensive. Another place in Carrigaholt, but again limited choice and expensive. Really wanted to buy some fresh fish and mussels when we were out and about and could not fathom how it was so hard to get. Good fish is so much easier to source on the eastern seaboard. We chose fish when we ate out but would love to be able to buy and cook it myself, just like we do at home in the midlands (where we have a reasonable selection of fish and outlets to choose from!).


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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,004 ✭✭✭✭the beer revolu


    GRACKEA wrote: »
    Because our government licks multinational corporate hole and small/local/independent businesses don't stand a chance. Sad because we have such lovely produce available but it's all homogenised by big brands or exported.

    If people supported small/local/independent businesses, they'd do fine.
    It's lazy to blame the government.

    Fact is people in Ireland don't really value fish, they like Brennans bread and they like to park up their car and do all their shopping in one place.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,946 ✭✭✭✭anewme


    Lucky enough to have an amazing fishmonger close by.

    I'm hoping they keep getting local support, as it's a real asset to the community.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,946 ✭✭✭✭anewme


    Lucky enough to have an amazing fishmonger close by.

    I'm hoping they keep getting local support, as it's a real asset to the community.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 564 ✭✭✭Checkmate19


    There are bakeries everywhere. Fish mongers not so much. Lidl aldi have a deent selection of reasonably priced fish.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,495 ✭✭✭Lu Tze


    I think your going to the wrong butchers as well! Years ago used to work in a butchers in a supermarket, with local suppliers of beef and lamb. If you asked for something that wasn't available on display it would be prepared right in front of you. Neck of lamb and shoulder/gigot chops for stewing always seemed to me more popular that the lamb cutlet chops, can't believe you couldn't get any in a butchers!

    Although the carcasses arrived with only the kidneys attached normally, so if you wanted heart or anything else it would normally have to be requested in advance.


  • Registered Users Posts: 159 ✭✭snickers


    I have been to the Netherlands and Belgium a good few times over the years and I have to say the goods from the bakeries over there always seem to look better than they taste except for your apple pie I love Dutch apple pie big slices of apple in them deep filled not all processed apple puke like you get over here usually with more pastry than filling .If you are looking for fresh seafood at very reasonable prices in Dublin there is a couple of fish wholesalers in millennium bus park in Ballycoolin that have trade counters open to the public that have all sorts of local and foreign seafood one is called glenmar shellfish can’t remember the other but it’s literally at the back of glenmar .


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,224 ✭✭✭zerosugarbuzz


    The bretzel bakery in rathmines can’t be beaten. I don’t live nearby but I always pick up several loaves when passing and freeze them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,919 ✭✭✭enricoh


    Super valu beside me in balbriggan have a very good bakery n a guy sells fish from the harbour. Just whatever is seasonal, if weather is crap n no boats out - no fish.

    Unfortunately most people think a slice pan of brennans is bread n a packet of donegal catch is fish!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,224 ✭✭✭zerosugarbuzz


    Waterford is I think the only place in Ireland where people buy fresh bread each morning like continental Europe. Blaa’s, small bread rolls, delicious.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,134 ✭✭✭✭iamwhoiam


    There are bakeries on every corner in Germany too . Its a matter of demand in my opinion , in Germany you have a meal called Kaffee und Kuchen between lunch and tea time . People are invited for Kaffee and Kuchen or often arrive armed with a tray of fresh cakes .
    That extra meal is not common here so bakeries wouldn’t make the same profit .
    Maybe its the same in Holland and so far more bakeries


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