By Harry Hatton
One of the longest running businesses in The Liberties closed its doors for the final time on Saturday, 29th October.
Fay’s Butchers on Thomas St., owned by Vivian Walsh, was a part of the south inner city street since 1973. Fay’s was a fourth generation business that was around since 1899, when it was opened first by Walsh’s great grandparents.
The initial owners of the business were the Fay’s and the surname has remained over the shop front even with its relocation to Thomas St. 43 years ago.
Walsh worked for his father in the Thomas St. shop before becoming the sole proprietor in the 1990’s. He also owned a meat brokerage company, called ‘Vivian Walsh Wholesale Meats’, but that business finished trading in 1992.
At one stage Walsh had up to 10 employees in his store but had only two members of staff at the time of closure, including his son Harry.
Walsh initially thought of closing the business two years ago and cited supermarkets in the area, such as Lidl across the road, as a primary factor in his decision.
“I took in 12 to 14 pound of fresh Irish turkeys at 22 euro each, [then] selling them for €29.99. The same week Lidl came out with 12 to 14 pound turkeys retailing €16.99. Thirteen euro cheaper than I was selling them and five euro cheaper than I can buy them.
“They’ve reconfigured the shop (Lidl) in Thomas St. They’re very clever in what they do. There used to be 50-50 dry goods and chilled, now fridges take up 75% of the space. It’s all meat and it’s all my customers.
“I picked up a receipt six months ago and it was for Lidl for €38. Thirty two (euros of the receipt) was meat. Thirty two of it was mine. This whole thing about putting a microphone under a woman’s nose asking her where she buys her meat and saying local butchers, that is a myth,” said Walsh.
Despite closing the long running business, Walsh will continue to work in the meat industry. “I have an opportunity to do a new project in the same type of business so I said I am going to do it. I was going to hang on until Christmas then I got a call to say that they need me now,” he told us.
Fay’s is the third butchers in The Liberties that has closed down in the last year, after both Dunne’s and Larkin’s on Meath St.