Conger Bread at Griffin's Bakery - Gastro Obscura
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Conger Bread at Griffin's Bakery

After a traumatic encounter with a six-foot eel, one Galway baker started making a daily loaf of sourdough in its shape.

Every morning, a massive loaf of sourdough stretches across the entire length of the counter at Griffin’s Bakery in Galway. It’s particularly satisfying when owner Jimmy Griffin gets to slice into it. Why? It’s made in the shape of the giant conger eel that almost killed him. 

It all began on a beautiful summer day in 2013 when Griffin was scuba diving off the Connemara coast. “All of a sudden I felt I got hit by a freight train,” he told the Connacht Tribune. “I got hit by this thing, it had me by the face and I was being tossed around like a rag doll.” It was a conger eel, a carnivorous fish with strong teeth that can stretch up to six feet long. While Griffin was able to escape, the large eel left its mark: a gash across his cheek, mouth, and chin.

In addition to 20 stitches and plastic surgery, Griffin healed another way: by baking. He started making a loaf of sourdough that had the same dimensions as the six-foot eel that bit him. Today, the bakery makes at least one loaf of the bread every day. Visitors who want to see the loaf in its entirety should arrive early, since fresh slices are sold off or added to the bakery’s sandwiches. In addition to the conger bread, Griffin’s sells breads that incorporate Irish seaweed flakes as well as richly spiced carrot cake, pillowy doughnuts, brownies, and classic Irish brown bread.

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