Making black pudding has always been in the blood for Sean Kelly and he has ensured that the family tradition will follow on behind him.
It was Sean’s father Dominick, who had learned his trade with Jake McCormick in Westport, County Mayo, who led the way when he opened a butcher’s shop in Newport in the 1930s along with his brother Michael. It was, and remains under Sean and his brother Seamus, a family business with commitments to the local community.
Sean and Seamus, learnt at their father’s knee – not just the rudiments of the art of artisan butchery, but the importance of a dedication to local produce and high standards.
The brothers took over the business in 1974, expanding their father’s work but without ever dropping their devotion to excellence. Today, they run the business along with Sean’s sons Kenneth and Cormac.
Going big doesn’t mean that we are going to jeopardize the quality of our puddings. We make our pudding up to a standard not down to a price. It what we do, it’s what we’ve always done. It’s what I was born to do
Today, Kelly’s are among an elite five butchers in Mayo who operate their own licensed abattoir where they slaughter all their own locally sourced animals.
It is key to Sean’s ownership of his black pudding that 70% of the livestock come from their own farm while the rest is hand-picked by Sean from local markets and farms, some of whom he has dealing with for 40 years.
Prime among his products which are gaining fame far from Newport, is the Kelly’s putog, a speciality pudding made in the traditional way. It is this fantastic black pudding which has earned Sean the singular honour of being made a Knight of the Black Pudding by Le Confreries des Chevaliers du Goute Boudin.
His now celebrated “pudding in the shape of a pint of stout” won no fewer than two gold medals at the Foire au Boudin at Mortagne au Perche in 2011. These rest alongside the countless other national and international awards that Sean’s black pudding has won.
It is Sean’s passion for black pudding and his commitment to excellence that elevates him above the crowd. He is regularly to be found behind the counter of his bustling Newport shop, indulging in banter with his customers and discussing the merits of his putog dubh. Increasingly, these customers come from further afield as gastronomic tourists find their way to Newport.