Bunowen Pier is at the edge of Connemara, at the edge of the island. To the west of Graham Robert's Connemara Smokehouse, which is housed in a fine stone building at the edge of Bunowen Pier, in West Connemara, there is the Atlantic Ocean, and nothing else.
It's a place you reckon that the great painter Sean MacSweeney would dream up, just so he could paint it: The Salmon Smoker's House. At the edge of the edge.
A place so nakedly elemental is just the right place for Graham Roberts to weave his magic with smoked fish. Mr Roberts is forever chasing the essence of flavour in his smoked fish creations, but the flavour he chases is the pure flavour, the unadorned flavour, the pure drop. The beech wood he uses for smoking his fish, in the 1946 smoking kiln he works with, allows for more subtlety than smoking with oak, so the Connemara Smokehouse products are blessed with a grace and subtlety, an elusiveness, the merest whisper of narcotic beech smoke. And there are no shortcuts taken in this Amokehouse: everything is done old school, by hand, by intuition, by experience.
The good news is that the Smokehouse is also an Economusée, so you can visit and see the artisan process as it plays out, from the hand filleting to the patient smoking to the packing. And when you do visit, you will take away a picture of an artisan fish smokery at the end of the world, in the most elemental place imaginable, and the memory and the image will be forever in your mind, indelible, and animating every occasion when you eat Mr Roberts beautiful smoked fish.
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