Nestled deep along the Connemara shoreline is a very special business, close to the hearts of the local community, and loved by customers all over the world.
In our blogs we always highlight the importance of local producers, and artisan and cottage industries, well this particular business is as close to nature as any.
Located in Aillebrack, Ballyconneely is the Connemara Smokehouse. Right on the waters edge the Smokehouse is a good drive off the main road, down a narrowing lane that makes you wonder if you’ve taken a wrong turn – well you haven’t, you’re just about to discover one of the oldest smokehouses in the country.
Previously I wrote about the wonderful family business of the Roberts family that has been in operation since 1979, but now there’s another reason for people to know about the Smokehouse. Connemara Smokehouse has just become Ireland’s first food Economusee. What on earth is that?
An Economusee is an economically independent artisan business that opens its doors to the public in order to promote its craft, and craftspeople. It gives people a reason to visit artisan busineses, and offers visitors a learning experience. This prestigious title puts The Connemara Smokehouse in a special place – deepening its ties to culture, community, trade, sustainable development, and protecting jobs.
There’s a need to strengthen awareness of these businesses in order to cement their future and development. For the Connemara Smokehouse they can now showcase their artisan process to the public in a way that both informs and teaches.
There aren’t many businesses that can claim to have totally natural produce, but one that takes fish directly from the waters around it, and smokes the produce using age-old natural processes is one that we must cherish.
Speaking at the opening of the Economusee, Teagasc Regional Advisory Manager Brendan Heneghan said: “The economusee concept originated 20 years ago in Quebec, Canada, where there are now over 50 economusee’s contributing to employment and the maintenance of local skills and knowledge in traditional rural businesses ranging from artisan food to boat building.”
“Needless to say we are thrilled to be the first food economusee in Ireland and now a member of this prestigious network. We aim to build on this success as the opening of the economusee today allows Saoirse and I to realise some of our long term dreams and plans for the business. It also showcases Connemara globally, which in turn should benefit other businesses locally and the seafood industry on a national scale”.
We have always used produce from The Connemara Smokehouse and will continue to do so because we believe in their ethical, and traditional processes. We at Kai also feel that the quality of the Roberts smoked produce is incomparable. We are proud to say we are an artisan business supporting artisan businesses. It’s good to keep it in the family!
So, next time you’re heading to Connemara make sure to put the Economusee top of your list.
Best of luck to the Roberts from all of us at Kai.
For more information on The Connemara Smokehouse visit or for more information on the whole Economusee organisation check out
Kai Cafe & Restaurant – Sea Road Galway