Run by the O’Hehir family, the bakery was initially established by Breda O’Hehir who returned to the business of baking after having reared her family.
Originally from Birr in Co Offaly, Breda Bowes decided at the age of 15 to move to Kilrush in Co Clare to train as a baker and confectioner. It was when she started working in a bakery in Ennis that she met her future husband, James.
Both had a strong entrepreneurial background as Breda’s family ran a foodstore in Birr and James’ parents ran a shop, undertakers and post office in Clare.
The couple moved to Sligo, where James worked with CIE, and had 13 children — all of whom have either worked full-time or helped out in the bakery at some stage.
While Breda took a break from baking to rear her family, she always baked at home and was well-known for her famous homemade apple tarts and delicious brown soda bread and also supplied the local corner shop.
However, when Breda and James’ son Michael left secondary school in 1983, he convinced his parents to put a more serious emphasis on baking and they set up a traditional craft bakery. They were then joined by Michael’s brother Enda and, soon after, by siblings Eddie, Jacqueline and Jim. This led to a bakery being built at the side of the family home, which initially focussed on the local market, supplying small shops around Sligo town.
However, as the family’s reputation grew, the business expanded and the first O’Hehirs Bakery & Coffee Shop was opened in Wine Street in Sligo in 1988.
Now, the O’Hehir name is synonymous with fresh artisan breads, quality celebration cakes and delicious homemade pastries while also providing more contemporary products such as our gluten-free range of breads and cakes.
Known for using traditional recipes and methods, we have 18 food outlets around the country, supplied daily by our own bakery, based in Sligo, which keep the customs of traditional baking alive.
We now employ more than 300 people, including some of the best craft bakers in the country and a quality food service team, who pride themselves in using traditional methods and quality ingredients to ensure delicious and nutritious food to all our customers.
As we continue to grow, we never forget our roots and are committed to provide global best practice with a personal touch.