Our love-story with the sea started over 50 years ago. The latest chapters see Errigal Bay as Ireland’s largest processor of wild Atlantic Shellfish.
Our state-of-the-art processing facilities in Ireland’s North West and South East enables Errigal Bay export premium quality seafood products – including crab, scallop, whelk, prawns, langoustine and lobster from the purest of Atlantic waters to a global market of leading retailers, wholesalers and food service customers.
One man’s dream, now our reality
Back in 1962, Father James Mc Dwyer had a vision and Errigal Bay is today a living tribute to his forward-thinking. Fr McDwyer was our local champion with the foresight to launch a Food Processing Co-Operative in order to create local employment, stave off emigration and help protect the future of an area of unique heritage within the Donegal Gaeltacht – our native Irish-speaking community.
‘Few events have sent such a thrill of hope through our local community as the successful commencement of a food processing factory in our midst…’ —Fr James Mc Dwyer, 1962
His dream became reality in December 1962 when the ‘Errigal Food Processing Plant’ was officially opened by Sean Lemass, Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) – himself a man with a great vision for a contemporary dynamic Irish society based on education and innovation.
From Deep Roots to Deeper Oceans
Initially, the company processed vegetables grown by the local community. But it soon looked to the sea right on its doorstep. Errigal Bay quickly progressed to processing premium quality seafood sourced nearby from the fresh waters of the Wild Atlantic.
Through the following years, the company soon became the cornerstone of the community, exactly as Fr McDwyer had envisaged. Employees, fishermen, service providers and local suppliers all began to benefit from its existence in their remote rural area at the northwest corner of Ireland. Today, many of these employees and fishermen are third generation families – Errigal now is a thriving living tradition.
Starting out with just 16 full-time staff in 1962, today Errigal Bay employs over 200 staff and exports its products worldwide. The original dream is a true entrepreneurial reality.
Ahead of its time in terms gender equality, the factory provided great opportunities for local women who had traditionally only worked in the home. Many of the current staff remember their mothers and grandmothers working in the factory. They well recall the sense of freedom that earning an independent income for the first time provided – and how they thoroughly enjoyed the social aspect of working together at the plant.
The company has changed ownership a number of times over its long history. Errigal Bay’s current owners have been on board since 2007. As part of its program for expansion and development, the company acquired Kilmore Seafood Wexford in 2013, adding complimentary products to its range. Since then, a significant investment program has been implemented to modernise facilities and procedures and to ensure the company meets the most stringent international standards, including BRC Global Standards Certification.