The ordinary limitations of time just don’t seem to apply to Adrian Sheerin from Sheerin’s Meatin’ Place; it seems like he has somehow negotiated more than 24 hours in each day. Calling it a superpower might be a step too far but it certainly enables him to cram a remarkable amount in! Butcher, husband, father, athlete, biker, cook and enthusiastic gourmand all apply to this energetic Ballymote man. 6am starts, early morning runs more often than not, a couple of nights a week training with the athletics club and a new found interest in swimming and triathlon are all just elements of an astonishingly busy life!
Literally born into the business, Adrian began life upstairs in what was the family butchers shop. He learned the trade from an early age, helping where he was needed, and behind the counter once he could see over it. At that time a small abattoir was a standard part of a small town butchers and Adrian and his brother (today a butcher in Tubbercurry) worked there too. He didn’t realise it then but the experience gained would stand to him in the future. He knows every bit of an animal from nose to tail, which is invaluable when working with chefs.
A third level butchering qualification in Galway was a natural step. An interview and practical test with Seán Loughnane, of the well known Galway butchers, was immediately followed with a job starting the next day. No hanging about in this trade. Adrian credits Loughnane’s with opening his eyes to the importance of presentation in the meat industry. He has a natural flair for display and maintains the highest standards in his own shop. It’s true that people ‘eat with their eyes’.
After a solid two years experience, the travel bug bit and Adrian, along with his girlfriend Jeanette (now his wife) headed off to the other side of the globe. Sydney, Australia was their destination and they spent a fascinating year there working, travelling and embracing the new experiences and the very pleasant climate. As a motor biking enthusiast, the wide open spaces and roads appealed to Adrian and work wise he built experience with several different butchers chains. He added to this with a spell working at Macy’s in New York. There’s no place like home though, and Jeanette was keen to return and resume her teaching career, so they returned to Ireland, this time to Limerick.
Around the same time Adrian’s father had decided to retire and had closed the shop. A chance comment from a customer in Limerick, who said he could well imagine Adrian behind the counter of his own shop, planted a seed. His father was more than surprised but nevertheless pleased with the news, and within a short time Adrian had opened the quirkily named Sheerin’s Meatin’ Place in his father’s old premises. The fact that the opening was a scant month after his wedding was a challenge they simply took in their stride.
Adrian loves the social aspect to the butchers shop, enjoying the banter and chat with customers, many of whom have been with him for the almost 14 years he’s been open. Taking after his mother, he genuinely loves food and cooking, and is a wonderful resource for uncertain cooks. Tips, recipes and suggestions flow over the counter along with the Sunday roast. What pleases him most is seeing the same person back the following week, satisfied and looking for further inspiration. According to Adrian it’s all about the customers, without them there would be, quite literally, no business. Sheerin’s has also been very successful in winning prizes both nationally and internationally including All Ireland gold medals for sausages and puddings on the very first outing. The pinnacle was being crowned a ‘Knight’ in Normandy thanks to a prizewinning chorizo sausage.
Customers began coming from further afield and when a stall became available at the Saturday Rathcormac market four years ago, Sheerin’s Meatin’ Place were quick to take it. They already had the kernel of a customer base and it has grown and thrived ever since.
Three small boys aged 9 (Ruadhan), 6 (Ruairí) and 4 (Conall) make for a busy household with everyone active in athletics, triathlons and other sports. Adrian reckons he has brought his working week down to about 60 hours now which shows just how demanding running your own business can be. It’s in the blood though, six generations of butchers have gone before him and in his ‘spare’ time Adrian is researching the family tree to prove it. #SligoFoodTrail www.sligofoodtrail.ie