Off the coast of Galway a noddy boat could skip between the islands and pull in close at a harbor dock. The highlight of the week was when the fishing boat came into the harbor. They’d be handsome bachelors on it, so the single women went down to the harbor with hot tea, something to add a bit of strength to it, and still-warm bread with sultanas added for sweetness. They went down dressed in their best, not dressed for buying fish. More than one woman had found a husband this way. The practice began to elevate the quality of the baking on the islands as  single women competed, each wanting to be known as the best baker. In time this stepped up the commerce,  and supply boats brought in more flour and butter, especially when the Walsh triplets all went to work on the boat just seven months after the Connells got into it. Here was the whole fleet of handsome bachelors.

After a couple betrothals took place the  single women on the island gathered. They realized they had good talent, and there was something to be gained if they cooperated. Already supply boats now were bringing in more supplies on a weekly basis, and the families were all doing a bit better. Why not send their baking off to the mainland, and make some money from it?

Arrangements were made. A truck would meet a boat in Doolin, and take all the baked goods up to the farmer’s market in Galway. One or two women would travel along to set up to sell. A sign was made, proclaiming  Baking From The Western Islands.

Sometimes they sold small fish pies, other times hand rolls filled with lamb. Their bread and scones became popular. Maureen made small scones that were light enough to be mistaken for the host at Sunday mass.

There was always a line here. Women stopped doing their own baking at the end of the week, and their husbands would buy the lamb roll or small fish pies instead of nipping home for a meal. Before you knew it their baked goods were being sought after mid week, too. The women  finally set up a kitchen in an abandoned cottage, and worked their together, right at the harbor mouth.

Soon the baked goods were placed in cafes in Galway, not just at the Farmer’s Market.  In time they made their way to Limerick shops. Today you can still find scones made by  Bakers of the Western Islands in proper Dublin tearooms, and at Shannon Airport. The women who began this business  back in the 1930s, the boats, and the handsome bachelors are gone. Still, there’s the idea of it, butter and flour giving rise to marriages and children, giving rise to life.