Fifth generation butcher Pat Whelan is one of Ireland's best known butchers, and one of the most innovative.
Operating from an impressive modern shop in a small shopping centre, he was among the first to go online and, while emphasising his traditional roots, constantly thinks outside the box. Most recently, he introduced 'the world's first Irish beef bonds'; an unusual concept in butchery (details are on his website), it involves advance purchase of Angus and Hereford beef in units of €100 (€150 for costly wagyu/kobe beef) in much the same way as you might invest in wine to lay down - but the returns are much quicker as you should take delivery of a mixed box of meat in less than three months.
Whelans are are certified organic meat retailers and offer organic chicken among other products, but their speciality is in dry-aged grass-fed Hereford and Aberdeen Angus beef from their own family farm - and processed at their own abattoir.
Like other butchers, they sell a full range of meats including wagyu beed and lamb (also from the family farm), pork and bacon, and some smoked fish, and visitors to the shop could not fail to be impressed by the extensive range of prepared meals and artisan products on display, both made in-house and supplied by other small producers.
In 2012, Whelans opened a second shop at the Avoca Food Market in Monkstown, Co Dublin, where they offer occasional butchery demonstrations (see website for details), and they have since also opened at Avoca Rathcoole.
Pat Whelan is a leading figure in the Tipperary Food Producers Group and the Totally Tipperary Food Festival, has also written two books; An Irish Butcher Shop and The Irish Beef Book (with Katy McGuinness), which are available from bookshops and to purchase directly online.