Look at these little beauties. Goatsbridge trout – feeling frisky! Mags and Ger Kirwan’s Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Co. Kilkenny is set in natural surroundings. Ponds are bordered by lush green grass, filled with water from the Little Arrigle river, a tributary of the River Nore. Here is a fish farm that has moved with the times, since it was started by Ger’s father in the 1960’s, but has lost known of its original simplicity and appeal. Now on the farm is a Visitor Centre, which tells the story of Goatsbridge through an interactive tour usually guided by Ger, who is the man who knows the Goatsbridge story inside out! Not only will he tell you how it all began, and how it continues to thrive and move in a modern way, but he’ll throw in a few nuggets of local knowledge – like the fact that Kilkenny’s Master Hurler ‘King’ Henry Shefflin hales from nearby Ballyhale, and probably shot his first sliotars into the river in the parish next door! (Henry holds the record with nine All Ireland Senior Hurling medals, and he might make it ten this coming Sunday!) The Visitor centre includes an aquaponics unit which explains the life cycle of the water where these superlative trout are farmed. Separate small tanks contain baby fish of varying sizes, showing the growth process from hatching. Groups of kids and school tours especially enjoy this. An artisan smokery on view to the public is where Goatsbridge trout are cured and smoked over oak and beech, to produce amber slices with a delicate taste and texture, to rival that of smoked salmon. Those who wish to learn how to smoke are especially welcomed. Aquaponics and Smoking workshops are run twice yearly. During school holidays, a kids fishing pond provides hours of fun. Goatsbridge Trout products are produced by a dedicated couple, from fresh home farmed fish reared in a natural system that includes the full cycle from hatching to adulthood. The Kirwan’s have continued Ger’s fathers family business and made it their own, in a unique style which involves education and commitment to the environment in production. As you can see these fish are lively and healthy – healthy fish produce healthy food.