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Helen O’Sullivan Murphy – O’Sullivans Bakery

Helen O’Sullivan Murphy – O’Sullivans Bakery

Hello, my name is Helen O Sullivan Murphy and I am the proprietor of O Sullivans Bakery. My Grandparents, Thomas and Margaret O’ Sullivan set up the business in 1952. My Grandfather had actually been managing a local public house and then when that closed down he went into the bakery trade. He went on to set up the bakery in April of 1952 in the garage in their back garden of their house on street. My Father then went on to bakery college himself and straight into the family business, his whole family would have been working in the business alongside him at different stages. But in the very early stage, it was just my Grandfather driving the van and we had 2 bakers.

As I grew up myself I always knew I wanted to get into the food business. My Father had always told me to go to college and get my degree to have something to fall back on. So after a year of travelling, I returned home in 1999 and became a permanent member of the family business making me the third generation of bakers within my family. I have three daughters now myself, they all like baking but whether they will grow to love it is another story! Only time will tell as they grow older will they want to be self-employed and manage people, we shall see!

We have been through and seen some very strange times that’s for sure. I think in situations like the Beast from the East and the recent lock downs, it’s made people
more reliant on local businesses and local produce. The Beast from the East situation for example, it restricted the national players from travelling down, the roads were blocked and dangerous so travel for them became a non-runner. So, because the supply was reduced, they created the demand within Kerry. It’s one of our selling point, we can deliver and provide a product locally.

My husband is also self-employed in a completely different industry so for the two of us it’s certainly not easy. I have 3 daughters and they would have all come to work with me from 5 weeks old. We got them christened very young and they were in the bakery every day, they know all the staff, all the drivers and all their routes, they know it all! I can do a lot of my work remotely but if I need to go in, I have a room set up for them upstairs that they can do their homework if needs be. I remember, Orla was 5 weeks old and I needed to get a van serviced in Castleisland but Orla also needed her BCG. I dropped off the van, brought her to get her injection and back down to collect the van, so really you could catch me doing any kind of work!

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On this International Women’s Day I am proud to come from a long line of strong, successful women. With having 3 daughters myself I hope to instil the same values in them that I was reared on and watch them frow into beautifully strong, independent women.

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