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‘Old Mr Brennan’, founder of family-run Irish bread maker, dies

Joseph Brennan founded his company in a single room more than 50 years ago and built it into one of Ireland’s biggest bakeries

The Brennans sliced pan went viral on social media in 2018. Its founder Joseph Brennan has died aged 82 in Dublin. Photograph: Leah Farrell/

Joseph Brennan, the founder of family-run Brennans Bread, has died aged 82 in Dublin.

Mr Brennan – who was affectionately known as “Old Mr Brennan” – died “surrounded by his family” at his home in Cabinteely on Sunday. His funeral Mass took place in Foxrock on Thursday and his remains were buried afterwards in Kilternan Cemetery.

Mr Brennan founded the company more than 50 years ago, baking the first loaves himself, in a one-room bakery in Fumbally Lane, Dublin. Since then, the bakery has moved to Walkinstown and is now one of the largest bakeries in Ireland.

Although Mr Brennan himself had long since stepped back from day-to-day operations, the group is still very much a family-run affair. Several of his children, who also have a number of other business interests, are listed as company directors.


The company, which operates with the slogan “today’s bread today”, has previously run radio advertisements featuring Mr Brennan’s voice.

The Brennans sliced pan went viral on social media in 2018 when it became one of the most sought-after necessities during the red weather warning event caused by the so-called Beast from the East storm.

The company has been in the same ownership since its foundation in 1972. It has embraced new technologies and has an active presence on social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Facebook, while it has pivoted in recent years to sustainable production and moved to reduce its carbon footprint.

It is a member of Bord Bia’s Origin Green, which is described as the world’s first sustainability programme for a country’s entire food and drink industry. The wax paper packaging on a number of its pans is 100 per cent recyclable, while it sends its bread waste to the pig feed industry.

Mr Brennan is predeceased by his wife Jean, and survived by his children David, Declan, Colm, Suzanne, Deborah, Michelle and Joseph.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter