A family that’s been tackling fish for over 150 years

Posted on: 9th March, 2015

Category: Food & Wine

Contributor: Mary O'Brien

As far back as 1821 fish has been sold on a Friday morning at Harrington’s Corner, at the bottom of McCurtain Hill in Clonakilty. Lar McCarthy of ‘Atlantic Catch’ carries on that family tradition today, trading fish at the very corner where his mother, grandfather and great grandmother all stood before him.

Although he always expressed a keen interest, Lar only entered the fish industry in 2012. “I can remember sitting in my grandfather’s van at this very spot as a five-year-old boy,” he recalls, “and also helping my mother Rose tidy up many times after trading on a Friday.”

“My mother often tells me stories about her father going by horse and cart to Kinsale to buy fish fresh off the boats,” says Lar. “He’d Lar McCarthyload up the cart in Kinsale and travel all the way down to Castletownbere, selling fish house-to-house along the way and sleeping in farmers’ sheds at night. Wet bags placed over the fish kept it cool during the long day. He would then buy more fish off the boats in Castletownbere and work his way back to Clonakilty. Those were difficult times but he was an amazing man to do all this and provide for his family,” says Lar proudly.

Today life is easier, with Atlantic Catch enjoying the advantages of different types of refrigeration, walk-in chillers, refrigerated vans, ice machines and so on. In fact, this is how the company has the best quality fish available. “I’m very serious when it comes to temperature control,” explains Lar. “The key in providing top quality fresh fish is keeping the fish between certain temperatures at all times.”

Recently a customer asked Lar if he’d consider opening a fish shop. “I wouldn’t rule it out but I would never leave this corner here in Clonakilty either, as the tradition means so much to me and my family.”

Atlantic Catch has two mobile refrigerated vans covering West Cork bringing the freshest of fish right to your door. Lar is often asked how this type of trading works so well. “It’s a matter of punctuality — always arriving at the right time and supplying a superior product. We go to great lengths in preparing our fish properly, from filleting it to trimming off all the excess and removing all the bones (especially important if you’re feeding the fish to a child).

The majority of fish sold by Atlantic Catch is collected fresh off the boats in Union Hall. “We pick the best of it then bring it back to our professional filleting unit, where it’s all prepared.”

Atlantic Catch also has a line of cooked seafood products, including fish cakes, seafood pastas and seafood chowders.

There are three people employed by Atlantic Catch and Lar’s feet are set firmly on the ground when it comes to talk of expansion. “Our main aim for the future is building up the Atlantic Catch brand, developing more customers on our routes and continuing to service Clonakilty at our traditional stall.”

Local designer and signwriter Tomas Tuipear designed the ‘Atlantic Catch’ logo, illustrating the old fish market in Clonakilty in the centre and helping keep the tradition alive as the business moves forward to create its own story.

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.

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20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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