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O'Donohue's Penny Loaf elevated to Papal status

2nd September 2018

O'Donohue's Bakery in Tullamore scored quite a coup last Sunday when their popular Penny Loaf was served to none other than Pope Francis on his flight back to Italy.

 Aer Lingus flew the Pontiff home following his visit to Ireland and served up a delicious menu of Irish food, which included the locally produced bread.

General Manager of O'Donohue's, Kim Heavin, said they were only made aware that their bread had made it onto the papal menu through a tweet. ''Someone checked it out and realised it was from O'Donohue's,'' said Kim.

Kim said they never know who their end user is going to be as they sell to distributors who in turn supply B&B's, hotels and other establishments. However, she said they believe they know which company supplied Aer Lingus with the loaves.

Kim describes the Penny Loaf as a mini yeast free soda bread. It is oblong in shape and is something like a scone. It comes in three flavours white, brown and seeded. ''We think he had the seeded one,'' added Kim.

News that the Penny Loaf was on the menu was a great boost to the local bakery,''we were delighted and there is a great buzz about the place,'' said Kim.

According to the menu the penny loaf was served with Irish mozzarella cheese. For the mains there was a choice between smoked salmon with braised savoy cabbage and basil pesto risotto with summer vegetables. Dessert was passion fruit mousse.

The Pope returned to Italy on Sunday evening following two gruelling days in Ireland and no doubt he was pretty hungry by the time he got on board and more than ready to enjoy his penny loaf.

O'Donohue's bakery is a family run business, established in 1989 by Cathal and Frances O'Donohue.

It grew from having just one other staff member to employing 35. The couple's children Louise, Niall, Jonathan and Adam are also involved in running the business.

The Penny Loaves were introduced by O'Donohues in 2014 and are extremely popular with consumers. The bakery can now add  Pope Francis to the number of people who savour these charming little loaves.


Camilla McLoughlin


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