Larkin brothers are committed to the craft of traditional butchery

by Daniel Cochrane

In the middle of Meath Street, across the road from The Lark pub, sits a small butcher shop run by brothers Paul and Declan Larkin. Upon entry one word springs to mind, simplicity. Although the shop isn’t particularly big, it is spacious. A board is on the far wall displaying a list of products accompanied by their prices. A pound of sirloin steak can be bought for just €6.10 and it’s only €5.39 by the kilogramme of rib steak.  A Foundation Award is beside it congratulating the shop on its outstanding commitment to the traditions of the craft.

The business was founded by their father, Sean Larkin, back in the 1950s and they still abide by his tradition. Larkin Bros are one of the last few remaining butchers in Dublin that actually butcher their own meat instead of just selling pre-packed products bought from main stream companies.

Back in the early 1970s, Sean bought land in Meath to raise cattle and sheep. This is why both the brothers and locals can trust what is displayed in the window. Paul believes that now the Celtic Tiger is over people will be going back to the traditional way. “There is no need in changing something that is working”, though he still finds it funny that youths are so surprised that the shop doesn’t sell sausages or rashers.

The business was also a home to the Larkins. The brothers spent their childhood above the shop and attended St Brigid’s School down the road. Meath Street businesses were owned by families who lived above them or in the houses situated closely by, which at the time was common.

Regulars are what keep the business afloat. But the occasional shoppers that appear on Fridays and Saturdays also bring in the bacon. First time shoppers are often surprised that only lamb and beef are sold. A lot of families moved out of the Liberties around the Celtic Tiger. But many of those still travel to town to shop on Meath Street. One woman makes the journey from Maynooth every few weeks just to buy meat from the brothers.

So the methods that were used back in the 1950s still work today. Customers are still greeted with the same level of banter and given advice on how to best cook the meat.  All you need is a knife, a good chopper, a saw and of course the skill.

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