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Pudding Newport’s latest export

Sean kelly
TRADITIONAL Seán Kelly, Newport, award winning puddings’ manufacturer. Grianghraf: Cormac Ó Cionnaith

Black Pudding is Newport's latest export

Anton McNulty

VISITING relatives and friends in England always involves a ‘shopping list’ of things the emigrant misses from home. You can guarantee the Tayto crisps and Barry’s or Lyons’ tea will always be at the top of the list. Another product almost impossible to source across the sea is traditional Irish black and white pudding – but that’s about to change, now that Kelly’s award-winning puddings are going on sale in England.
Dominick Kelly’s Butcher’s Shop has been part of the furniture in Newport town for more than 50 years. It buzzes with life and activity and has a constant stream of customers in and out. The cheerful faces of brothers Seán and Seamus are always behind the counter in striped aprons, with a smile and a recommendation for everyone. Now their award-winning black and white puddings will offer a little bit of home for the many Irish living in the northwest of England.
“We always reckoned there was a good market in England,” explains a chatty and ever-smiling Seán Kelly. “We could see all the people going back after their holidays who were bringing the puddings with them and we knew there was an opportunity. We needed an Export Licence before we could export the products though, and that took a good deal of work to achieve.”
The Kellys’ story is one of a small family business which has grown to serve first of all a national market and now an international one. Seán and Seamus took over from their late father Dominick, and about seven years ago decided to enter All-Ireland competitions run by the Irish Craft Butchers. This catapulted them onto a national stage as Kelly’s won three Black Pudding titles and two White Pudding titles in as many years. Wholesalers began showing an interest in selling the products nationwide, which in turn meant an expansion of the manufacturing operation. The shop just wasn’t big enough to meet the demand.
“We needed to take the bull by the horns and build a brand new unit for manufacturing,” says Seán. “We always had our eye on getting the Export Licence and we built a state-of-the-art unit which we knew could achieve the standard.”
It was a big investment for a small family business, but it has paid off handsomely - Kelly’s were awarded the Export Licence by the Food Safety Authority last October.
Having built up some contacts in England, Kelly’s will be distributing through Kiltimagh-based Pius Forde who delivers to Manchester, Birmingham and Bolton weekly. Kelly’s Award Winning Puddings are now available for sale in Irish centres in Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, as well as in a number of butcher shops in Manchester, Birmingham and Bolton. Pius Forde will also be selling them on his own stand at the Manchester St Patrick’s Day parade.
The Kelly brothers have also revived the art of  manufacturing the Putóg, which is the traditional pudding recipe, and a familiar food item in farmhouses countrywide in bygone years. The Putóg had almost slipped from memory when Kellys revived it and began making it for the local Christmas market. They will also be making it available for St Patrick’s Day and it will soon be sold countrywide.
Dominick Kelly’s Butchers now employs eight people, between the shop and factory, which produces and packages the pudding with an eye-catching black and gold label. Their output has trebled to a tonne of Kelly’s Pudding a week and that is set to increase in the near future.
Considered by many to be a rival to the well-known Clonakilty Black Pudding, the future for Kelly’s Puddings seems secure.