& Local Government Phil Hogan T.D.

 Martin Keane Vice Chairman Glanbia Plc presented Callan Bacon with the overall ‘Business of the Year’ award. Callan Bacon was also a winner in the Agri-Business and Exporter categories.Callan Bacon Company is a 4th generation family business which was established in 1924.  It presently has a turnover of over €50m which represents a growth of approximately 100% in just 3 years with just over 200 employed today. 

The business today is driven by John Walshe who is MD of Callan Bacon since 1985. He has nearly thirty years experience in the sector and is a qualified chartered accountant. John holds post grad diplomas in several key areas of strategic business management, including International Selling and Research and Development. He has also worked in senior roles in multinationals across Europe and South Africa.

Callan Bacon  is the bacon specialist supplying bacon through the UK and Ireland picking up 18 awards in the past 3 years alone including Blas na hEireann, The Grocer and Great Taste. Callan is a specialist in sliced bacon and is the largest producer of consumer bacon joints in Ireland.  Export’s now account for 60% of the company’s turnover.

Over the years Callan has always reinvested its profit back into the business; as a result Callan is now a world class facility.  A large extension was built in 2010 which trebled the size of the factory to 57,000 feet and positions it as the most modern and automated plant in the country. 

Callan has a diverse customer base with customers in the retail, wholesale and catering business. Our Main Customers are retail based including Aldi Ire & UK, Lidl Ire & UK, Iceland Frozen Foods, Dunne’s and Tesco.

Both Billy Dalton of Chancellors Mills and Margaret Ward of RTE News also received standing ovations when presented with their Awards by Chamber President Donie Butler & Vice President Martin Costello. 87 year old Billy received the Lifetime Achievement Award a most fitting tribute in the year when John Dalton & Sons/Chancellors Mills celebrate their 150th Anniversary. Chancellors Mills a third generation business and has been serving the farming community of Kilkenny and its environs for the last 150 years. Billy played a key role in the running and development of the Mill father of John the current Miller. The key activities of the business include animal feed manufacture, an agri shop as well as grain drying and storage.

Margaret Ward was recoginised for her journalistic career at RTE News including coordinating RTE’s coverage of the Good Friday agreement and the Omagh bombing, she began to cover international news, reporting from much war torn and famine ravaged countries: Rwanda, Sudan, Serbia, Russia, Afghanistan, North Korea, Libya and many other locations. As Foreign Editor she expanded RTE’s international coverage and also spent three years in China, reporting on the Sichuan earthquake, the Beijing Olympics and daily life in the world’s most populous country. She was RTE’s news producer for the last general election and was also one of a team of three which coordinated RTE’s coverage of the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Ireland. 

The International Award was won by Cartoon Saloon and Paul Young received his award from Category Sponsor Terry Clune of Connect Ireland. Cartoon Saloon is an Irish Animation Studio based in Kilkenny. It was recently nominated for an Academy Award (R) for Best Animated Feature film. It began as an informal partnership between a group of animators brought together by Paul Young and Tomm Moore in 1999. Cartoon Saloon has since grown into a multi-award winning animation and illustration design studio. The studio works with many diverse, international Clients such as Disney, BBC and Cartoon Network.

Cartoon Saloon develops and produces feature film and TV series projects while producing award winning short films, television commercials, graphic novels and children’s books.

In addition to developing and producing Tomm Moore’s Oscar (R) nominated The Secret of Kells, The Saloon also successfully developed and produced its first TV series, the IFTA award winning Skunk Fu which has been sold to broadcasters in over 120 countries worldwide, including the BBC, Cartoon Network, Canal J, France 5 and Super RTL.

Click here to view Winners: Kilkenny-Chamber-Business-Awards-Photo’s

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The Category winners are:

Agri Business:                                    

Callan Bacon

Craft Business:

Claire Molloy Ceramics

Culture & Heritage/Tourism:

Kyteler’s Inn

Customer Service:

Callan Dental

Emerging New Business:

Bluebird Care

Employee of the Year:

Geraldine Kelly (Sheridan Insurance)

Employer of the Year:

Rustiq Salon

Environmental Award:

Keep Kilkenny Beautiful;

Excellence in Communications:

Midas PR

Excellence in Hospitality:

Pembroke Hotel

Exporter Award:

Callan Bacon

Family Business:

Sheridan Insurance

Food/Drink Produce:

Knockdrinna Cheese

Innovation Award:


Intern in Business:

Michael Ryan (RIKON-WIT)

Invest in Skills:

Callan Dental

Retailer of the Year:

SuperValu Loughboy

Service Provider:

Munster & Leinster Cleaning Services

Small Business:

Brian Dunlop Architects


Individual Award Winners:


International Award:

Cartoon Saloon

Lifetime Achievement Award:

Billy Dalton (Chancellors Mills)

President’s Award:

Margaret Ward (RTE News)


Overall Business of the Year:

Callan Bacon.