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    Patrick Ryan

    Patrick Ryan

    Innovation and Revolution | Delgany, Wicklow and Heir Island, Cork

    Patrick Ryan completed a degree in Corporate Law, before working in a kitchen for a summer in Greece and deciding he wanted to be a chef. He undertook a two year course in professional cookery in GMIT and trained under Kevin Thornton before heading off back-packing.

    In the course of travels in Fiji, a man called Duncan Glendinning found Patrick making bread with the women of a native tribe. Duncan wanted to set-up a bakery in his hometown of Bath and believed he had found his baker. Although Patrick had never trained in a bakery, Duncan convinced him to come to Bath and set up award-winning artisan bakery The Thoughtful Bread Company, where he ‘blagged it’ initially but ‘really took to bread’ and stayed for four years. During that time, he appeared on BBC2 series The Big Bread Experiment and published a book, Bread Revolution, along with Duncan.

    Then, at the peak of success in the UK, he decided to return home. He wanted to do his own thing and that turned out to be The Firehouse Bread School, which he established on Cork’s Heir Island - population twenty-seven - with his partner Laura in 2012. The isolation of the island turned out to be a big part of the attraction and they created a special intimate experience which has been almost entirely booked out ever since, attracting people of all ages, genders and backgrounds.

    In May 2013, the Firehouse Bakery & Café opened in Delgany, county Wicklow. It was about as far away from their base in West Cork as they could get, but the premises were offered, “not many people are going to offer you a space to do what you want to do”, so they jumped at it. It turned out to be just right for them, with a community feel and regular local customers, as well as providing a base from which to wholesale to the Dublin market. Just three years later, they have already outgrown the café space and have moved their baking into a purpose-built unit. 

    Patrick has been a leading member of Real Bread Ireland network and passionately promotes real bread. He also recently launched Revolution Bakery, a mobile ‘gamechanger in the world of doughnuts’ popping up on the streets of Dublin.