"If you wanted a pork chop you had to go to the pork shop".


"If you wanted a pork chop you had to go to the pork shop".

I met Mr Tony Buckley last week. He is a retired butcher and an active local historian working with the Robert Emmet Community Development Project in Usher St in the Liberties of Dublin. During our chat Tony told us something of being a butcher in Dublin city.


"The name is Tony Buckley. I’m retired but I was a butcher all my life, as my father was before me; as his father was. We were based in different parts of the city, and that is one of the most difficult things…I don’t know the addresses! I don’t even know where they lived.

And you need that information, to trace…the parish records, otherwise you’d be going through parishes til you were blind, nearly, yeah…

We used to call our butcher’s stalls, not a shop! Because back prior to the refrigeration, the stalls were attached to a market and the cattle would be bought alive, slaughtered,  butchered and sold all in the one little area, over maybe two days.

That was all before my time. Prior to 18, 1820 to 1830.

Started with an apprenticeship to my father, yeah. In the late 40s. We were in Queens Street. Prior to that my father was apprenticed in the early 1890s, and then he went and opened his own shop.

It was very specialised knowledge, at that time it was. As I say, you would buy a beast alive. Now, in the early days you would slaughter it yourself. In my time you had to employ, somebody for… there was a handful of people who would be employed for the slaughtering.

You’d buy the cattle in the market, by hand originally and then it was by weight. And you would send it over to the corporation abattoir. Where you’d employ butchers and porters. This was all on the North Circular Road.

Beef and lamb. That was a butchers. Now if you wanted to get a pork chop you had to go to the pork shop. Or if you wanted a sausage.

By buying the beast you had to clear everything. Nowadays butchers will buy, already butchered and boned meat that already suits their trade; whereas we would have to sell every part of the beast; we’d have to have a market for the best and the…

The poorer people would go more for stews; from the stewing part of the beast…More expensive would be fillet, sirloin of steak, t-bones - tongue, demand for that and cows head.

I remember when I was apprenticed there was  a woman down in Banbury Street, would buy a whole cows head. She would bring that back and she would turn it into stews and brawn…Did you ever eat brawn? I don’t know!!!"