Guiry's of West Limerick is a small family run poultry farm situated near Newcastle West in the heart of the Golden Vale. Mike and his wife Christine originally set up in 1994 to produce hatching eggs for Castlemahon Foods Ltd with 4,000 birds. It was to be a complimentary farm enterprise to their small dairy herd.
Over the next few years the cows were sold and the money was used to extend and automise the poultry unit.
In 2006, disaster struck with the closure and liquidation of Castlemahon Foods Ltd and two years later, the closure of Cappaquin Chickens Ltd. Mike and Christine were left almost broke with massive bills and loans.
A year later, with the help of friends, suppliers and AIB, they converted the farm to make it suitable for free range egg production. At first, all the eggs went to a wholesaler. In 2011, they got a packing license from the Department of Agriculture and were now in a position to supply local shops.
The two local SuperValu outlets in Newcastle West agreed to stock their eggs and it has been onward and upwards ever since. Christine took part in the Food Academy in 2015 and this has lead to more sales in more SuperValu stores. Food Academy went through costings and branding which are hugely important and can be easily overlooked when one is very busy in production.
Nowadays, Mike looks after all the egg production and the welfare of the hens. Christine looks after sales and distribution and they have a part-time employee looking after the grading and packaging. The bills are paid and the loans reducing. They are very grateful to SuperValu for these opportunities and peace of mind as all the eggs are no longer in one basket with each store having its own account.
The neighbours (near and far) are grateful too as they can buy the freshest free range and locally produced eggs any day of the week.