Ditty's Bakery - History

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Robert Ditty's father, a master baker launched the bakery in 1963 when he bought a premises in Castledawson that was formly owned by his then employer, the Magherafelt-based Quinn's Home Bakery. Robert's bakery skills and passion for the industry were nurtured through spending his holidays and summers working in the bakery for his father. Robert's bakery skills were also developed by working in various small family bakeries during a gap year spent in the province of Brittany in France. Robert took over the business in the 1980s when his father died quite suddenly.

  • 1970s-1980s

    In the late 1970s Ditty's Bakery employed around forty five people and operated a thriving wholesale business, supplying fresh bakery goods to local outlets. JC Stewart in Magherafelt was one of the first independent stores within Northern Ireland to install an in-store bakery counter and was one of Ditty's biggest customers at the time. The bakery had fantastic growth throughout the 1970s - 1980s due to "the troubles" in Northern Ireland and despite the bakery being destroyed by a terrorist bomb in 1976 business boomed. In 1985 Robert decided to open a second shop in Magherafelt, which was a tremendous gamble on a new bakery at a time when the troubles were at their height. However, this gamble paid off and the shop in Magherafelt is still a thriving business today.

  • 1990s-present

    In the 1990's, Robert continued to expand the business focusing on new markets outside Northern Ireland. Ditty's have built a significant and growing export clientele who purchase both their sweet and savoury biscuit range. Robert is continually working on developing unique products, often through working with other artisan producers to offer a point of difference to his customers. Products such as the Gubbeen and Smoked Oatcakes are testament to these strong relationships with other artisan producers. Today, Ditty's Bakery employ over seventy employees and have won numerous awards for their products including their Christmas mince pies being voted the best in Ireland in 2008.