Castletownsend is a town famous as being the home of Edith Sommerville, author of ‘Reminiscences of an Irish RM’ in particular, and she is now buried in the grounds of the Church of Ireland in the middle of the village. The Townsend family from which the village gets its name still live there and it is possible to stay in the castle, which is now a B&B.
Located on the outskirts of the Georgian village of Castletownsend, is Sally Barnes’ Woodcock Smokery. The smokery sits atop a hill overlooking the impressive standing stones known as ‘The Fingers”. The area is full of souterrain passage-ways said to link the stone forts in the area, such as Knockdrum Fort nearby.
The Barnes’ (Sally and her daughter Joleine) run the smokery and they epitomise the word artisanal. Sally has a wealth of specialist knowledge on fish and smoking fish that she is only too willing to share. In fact Sally runs courses on Smoking fish. While I was there I very quickly learned the importance of having line-caught tuna as opposed to net-caught tuna. This knowledge is not just academic for Sally it is ‘essential’ in producing the finest quality produce.
Sally has passed her knowledge down to Joleine who carries the tradition on for a new generation. Already the Barnes’ ladies are specialists in the production of slow-smoked, fresh wild-caught fish devoid of any artificial additives or preservatives and they cure their products in a traditional manner. This takes prime quality fish, native hardwood timbers, skill and time. All aspects of the process, such as filleting, salting, pin-boning, and slicing, are done by hand in their smokery in Castletownsend. They are best known for their exceptional award-winning wild smoked salmon but also provide a wide range of smoked fish products including tuna, mackerel, herring, haddock and pollack using both hot and cold-smoking techniques.
In fact Sally`s attention to detail has been paying off with three Woodcock Smokery products receiving awards at the Great Taste Awards in London this year namely, wild smoked salmon, smoked mackerel and their hot smoked Albacore tuna. Woodcock smokery products can be ordered on-line.