Seamus Bracken of Bracken’s Butchers on the Lynn Road, celebrated 30 years in business on 1st October 2020. Seamus’ jovial character and helpful nature keeps the people of Mullingar and the Midlands not only well fed, but keeps them coming back for more!
Born in Kinnegad, Seamus adopted Mullingar as his home and his place of work. His love of food and cooking comes from his mother, Kitty, who was a great cook and teacher. Seamus’ father, who was also named Seamus, was a tailor, so Seamus (jnr.) assures us he definitely did not follow in his father’s footsteps!
Seamus comes from a family of six sisters (Anne, Mary, Catherine, Patricia, Ber-nadette and Therese) and two brothers. Seamus, who is a twin, sadly lost his twin brother Stephen on 6 November 1984, however Seamus says that he knows Stephen is with him every day and that he continues to bring him a lot of luck in life. Seamus is blessed to have another brother, named Joseph.
Seamus started his trade away back when he was just 14 years of age and still in secondary school. He worked in the local butcher shop in Kinnegad and after he finished secondary school, he began to work full time in the butcher business. He is now 60 years old and says he is still learning, every single day.
He opened his first butcher shop in Mullingar in 1990 and was based in Clonmore, previous to re-locating to the Lynn Road, in the O’Brien’s Centra complex.
They say it’s hard to find good staff these-days and that may well be true but not for Seamus as he is very lucky to have the same staff with him almost since he opened. Mark O’Brien from Ballinagor, Ken Orme from Crookedwood and Damien Kiernan from Mullingar have clocked up 28 years to date working with Seamus. All of them are qualified butchers and experts in what they do. Norma, keeps the books in order since joining the business in 1992. Not forgetting Richie, who has always been around and is always on hand to help out. “We have a great team and we work well together and enjoy giving our best to our customers. I’d be lost without them and thank them very much for all their hard work throughout the years” Seamus says.
Local and Organic Quality Products In This One Stop Shop
The majority of the products in Bracken’s Butchers are organic and Irish, with as much as possible sourced locally. The meat and poultry are all locally sourced and certified organic. “We’re not a regular butcher shop only” Seamus tells us, “we have a bit of everything, from the usual beef and poultry and fish to beautiful Irish cheese from the Aran Islands. We have the local Kilbeggan Porridge and Kilbeggan Oat cookies, we stock coffee from the local Bell Lane roastery, we have a wide selection of ready-made meals, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options as well as Mullingar’s favourite (award winning) home – made sausages and burgers. Silver Hill Duck (from Co. Monaghan) is known to some as the “best duck in the world” and we’re very happy to stock this also in the shop. We are I suppose a one stop shop” Seamus quips.
A few years ago Bracken’s Butchers won awards for the “Best Steak” and “Best Sausages”. “We won the Leinster Gold Medal for best sausages and I also won an All-Ireland cooking competition recently” Seamus proudly informs us. “I’m very passionate about cooking all types of food and I love cooking in general. In the past, I’ve had a few competitions, with the prize being that I would go to your home and cook dinner for six (or however many) family members. I’ve also hosted events, such as food nights in the Greville Arms Hotel in Mullingar and I regularly put up food demos on Facebook.”
Customer service is something the team take very seriously and you’ll find Seamus and his team are always delighted to help with cooking tips, suggestions for meals, etc. Bracken’s Butchers do cook some meats on request and their Christmas hams are a favourite. “In fact, we will start taking orders shortly for the cooking of our Christmas hams” Seamus tells us – so might be an idea to pay a visit to Bracken’s in the next few days and get your order in early.
While the majority of people still drop by in person for their orders and a chat, of late, many ring before-hand, as they are not too keen on waiting in line. “That’s good for us and works well – so if anyone wants to ring in advance, we can have your order ready for immediate pick up when you arrive in the car park” Seamus politely offers.
Family Dinners Are Back in Fashion
This year of 2020 has not been an easy year for many, but Seamus tells us that he is happy to see that families seem to have gone back to eating together. “The lockdown period saw a return of roast dinners-beef and chicken and lamb dinners, all traditional family style dinners which is great to see. We’ve been busy throughout lockdown and luckily the location of the shop, the free parking and ample parking space has made it easy for us to operate and put the necessary guidelines in place to make everyone feel comfortable and feel safe.”
Seamus’ passion for food continues and he hopes to someday write his own cookery book. That’s definitely one to pre-order, along with the weekly roast, so keep an eye out!
Seamus would like to use this opportunity to mention his gratitude and thanks to his family, those who are here and those who are looking in from above. To his Mother, for instilling a love of cooking in him from an early age, to his brother and sisters and especially his daughters, Laura and Louise. “All of them are very supportive of me and are a great inspiration and help always. I’d like to give a special mention to my daughter Laura who is due to have her baby shortly”, Seamus proudly tells us. He is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to become a Grandfather for the first time! A special mention also to Jolanta, Seamus’ partner who is also a great support to him always.