Located in County Wexford, Ireland Ballyhack Smokehouse is a proud family-run business. The Walsh family’s expertise has been handed down for five generations; ensuring our renowned high quality is achieved and we go to every extreme to ensure this is maintained.
Fish were traditionally caught by driftnet and men from the village returned home from the (U.K. and USA) from February until the salmon season ended in August. Little else was spoken about in the village! In fact salmon was one of the first words learned by most of the young boys in the village. The Walsh’s were all fishing for salmon from the age of 9 or 10. It was considered an honour for a boy to be allowed to carry the fish by the gill up to the local shop for sale. If the boy was not big or strong enough to stop the tail from touching the ground they were given a smaller fish to carry until they were big enough to handle the larger salmon.
Smoking fish also has a long tradition in Passage East (directly across the river from Ballyhack on the Waterford estuary). There was an abundant supply of wild salmon, with some of the local fishermen catching the salmon and smoking it in the artisan fashion.
These fish were then traded between the villages as a delicate treat. Michael Walsh has learned and perfected the art of smoking salmon. He set out with an objective to achieve a traditional artisan flavour from the fish and the first step in this process was to obtain a smoker used as far back as the 1950s. He has worked tirelessly bringing together a magnificent blend of tradition, heritage, top quality product and his knowledge & expertise to ensure that his product is of unique stature and can be described as truly artisan.
Our artisan smoking method is truly distinct to Ballyhack Smokehouse. We only use 3 simple ingredients for our fish: beech wood chips, salt and wild or Irish organic salmon. Here is the story of how your fish came from the Irish river water, went through our delicate smoking process and ended up being enjoyed on your plate.
Wild salmon are sourced from a local registered salmon buyer who has a long history of fishing and handling salmon and is passionate about the presentation and quality of each salmon he supplies. Driftnet salmon fishing was closed in Ireland in 2006 and now only a limited number of rivers are opened. Fish are now caught by means of snap net. In these rivers, the fishermen are issued with tags to ensure sustainable fishing – which means that wild Irish salmon have become a very limited product. Salmon are chilled with ice immediately after being caught and are landed to the buyer on the same day to ensure that utmost quality is maintained.