Our Story Begins....

Our Story

This is a story over a century in the making, bringing together Irish history and Scandinavian heritage. It tells of the many types of love that make the magic that is The Burren Smokehouse. From small beginnings to the international stage (with a handful of royals thrown in for good measure), this is a tale above all of innovation and a passion for an ancient craft, reinvented for the modern world.

A long, long time ago

In 1865, the Curtin family became the proud owners of The Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna, a tiny spa town just off the Wild Atlantic Way and a short drive from the Cliffs of Moher. The warm, friendly pub was a welcoming stop for wayfarers, a bakery and a gathering place for the local community.

A wild romance

In 1981, an adventurous young Swede named Birgitta paid the village a visit, looking to explore the wildly beautiful landscapes of The Burren. Birgitta met Peter Curtin, the current owner of The Roadside Tavern. They fell in love, were married and together they began to experiment with smoking salmon.

Birgitta and Peter Curtin in front of Roadside Tavern
A runaway success

Together they built the Burren Smokehouse in 1989, with Peter designing both the smokers and the patented process still used to produce the smoked salmon today. The reputation of the Burren Smokehouse grew, and orders flooded in, first from local restaurants and hotels, then from across the country and finally the world.

Legends and local artisans

In 1995, Birgitta opened the doors to the visitor centre, a stimulating home to the story of Irish smoked salmon creation, a haven to explore other local food producers and a rich source of fascinating Irish mythology.

Burren Smokehouse visitor centre Lisdoonvarna
Fish fit for a king (or queen)

Burren Smokehouse fish has previously attracted the attention of the finest retail establishments across the globe, including Fortnum & Mason, Harrods, Dean & Deluca and many more. It has also graced the plates of royalty, including Queen Elizabeth II of England and King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, with the latter pair exploring the Burren Smokehouse on a trip to the region in May 2019.

King and Queen of Sweden at the Burren Smokehouse

The Burren Smokehouse today

The team began as just three people and today, they are almost 20, each dedicated to producing the finest quality smoked fish. Birgitta is very much the heart and soul of the Burren Smokehouse and pioneer of ecotourism in the region. Peter still has an active hand in innovations at the Burren Smokehouse, but also masterminds artisan production at The Roadside Tavern, where they brew their own lager, red ale and stout.

Want to taste the fish worthy of royalty? Orders can be with you anywhere on the globe in just 48 hours, 24 hours if you’re nearer

Roadside Tavern Burren Smokehouse