Stealing some me-time on our holidays, which started with lovely steaks from McCarthy’s of Kanturk, I did receive the task to get some chops for the dinner. I walked the main shopping streets in Tralee but could I see a butchers – not one. This is not surprising as in Cork, outside of the English market, there is only one butchers shop trading in the city centre.
Calling to the workplace of a friend, I received directions to a small butchers shop on the North Circular Road – Waddings. The only regret with the chops purchased was that I didn’t buy enough.
That morning, I got chatting with the two butchers on duty and explained that I did not want a prepacked meat. I wanted meat that was recently carved and open to view on all sides. I learned that, similar to Cork, the number of butchers shops had significantly reduced – trade lost to the supermarkets.
Local shops and newsagents have significantly reduced from when I was younger. I don’t think there is a tobacconist in Cork and only a couple of cobblers. Post Offices are closing. Recently, a chat with a few friends revealed that the many different insurance and life assurance brokers that we all used had all been taken over and subsumed into larger entities and contact is now with a call-centre-type set-up; personal contact and connection is gone.
Last year, an article in the Irish Times reported that ‘ It is one of Ireland’s great culinary treasures to have such a wealth of independent meat shops. And apparently it is a treasure that a new generation of shoppers is rediscovering.’ I do hope that the article spoke the truth. We do enjoy the fare from O’Mahony’s of the English Market but I do fear the future of mass produced sameness and blandness driven by the supermarkets, the mass producers and the regulators.
I do hope we take a turn on the road to the Brave New World………………