Meylers Fish Company, Wexford
Meylers is a well known fish shop located in the ‘Bull Ring’ at the heart of Wexford town. Jimmy Meyler who is the owner of this iconic 3rd generation family business talks to us about the family shop.
Tell us about the history of Meylers fish?
Meylers is third generation business. Their grandmother started the business, she took charge of all the street traders, sold them herring and then they sold it around to customers. She tossed half a crown with someone and won our house in the bet, we are still housed here today in the Bull Ring Wexford.
My Grandmother, Anastasia worked from 7am – 11pm every day. Anastasia was a very hard worker and got Meylers fish off the ground and where it is today.
The fish was sent from Wexford to Dublin and an export business was born. She was on the quays in Wexford when the fish landed and she would have been labelling all of the fish and where it should go herself. My grandfather, James helped her out.
When my Father came back from the war he took over the business from my grandmother. He died at the age of 62 in 1971. I went on my travels around Europe for 4 years I came back and worked in pubs and building sites all kinds of jobs. Then in 1977 I took over the business.
What does it take to run a successful business like Meylers?
Family! There have been a lot of ups and downs but we are a very determined family and have always worked very hard. We’ve looked after the people of Wexford; my dad knew who had what, that’s the way business was done back in those days. Our fish was wrapped in newspapers and it went around to families in Wexford. If any family in Wexford had problems they weren’t without fish anyway and my dad made sure of that.
Do you think working with family helps?
Yes it does, hugely! My son and daughter are working in the business now and it is fantastic to see! Linda my daughter is a natural with sales. James my son is a Trojan worker and it would be great to see Meylers coming in to a 5th generation.
It means everything to me to work with my kids. Someone to work with, someone to play with and someone to fight with.
Your smoked product is well known all over Wexford and beyond. Tell us about it….
Well I started smoking fish in 1981. I never looked at a manual it was all done through trial and error. It was people who were coming in telling me we had a very special and unique product. We gained a lot of people coming over for the Wexford festival and they were telling us that our smoked salmon was the best in the world.
We call ourselves the people’s champions in the area of smoked fish. People are coming as far as Dublin and Belfast to buy our smoked salmon. We supply a barbecue salmon that we believe will not be copied anywhere else in the world. All the moisture is sustained in the fish, which is a huge seller and we are unique selling our barbecue salmon. I have tried other barbecued smoked salmons and they are much drier than ours.
Where does the fish come from?
Our fish is mainly sourced from the Flaherty’s in Kilmore.
What makes Irish fish better than other fish?
It’s hard to say, we know it’s in bigger demand than other fish. The quality of our fish would be very high. You’ll know when cod is from the Irish Sea because it’s full of flavour and a very healthy colour.
What’s the most popular fish?
Salmon, Plaice, Lemon Sole, Cod, Turbot. We have over 50 types of fish here. We have an amazing selection from the Irish Sea.
People are a lot more health conscious now so Fish is becoming very popular.
‘Monart have our name on the menu beside the smoked salmon and that is a huge thing for us, people know our name and love our product before they even visit us. We are getting mail orders from all over the world from people who tried our smoked salmon in Monart.’