The Ursa Minor story began on the other side of the world. Founders Ciara and Dara O hArtghaile discovered delights like sourdough loaves and friands while living for a year in New Zealand. They returned home to Ballycastle determined to keep those tastes alive. Inspired by New Zealand’s café culture, the duo set about bringing fresh, seasonal bread and sweet bakes to Northern Ireland’s north coast.
Both are self-taught bakers. Dara learned how to create sourdough by trial and experimentation, investigating flavour combinations to feed to friends and family, until he felt he had mastered
the craft. Before founding Ursa Minor, Ciara had been baking all her life at home with her family. She now specialises in sweet bakes, in particular her adored friands, first tasted in New Zealand.
This husband and wife team, Dara and Ciara, were both raised on the north coast. They looked to their home town of Ballycastle when they became serious about their potential artisan bakehouse.
The duo founded Ursa Minor in 2014, producing small batches of hand-crafted bread and patisserie.
The bakehouse is a lifestyle business for the couple, involving extended family and the local community. Keen to keep the business on a sustainable scale, the finished products have very low transport miles and are exclusively available in this area of the north coast.
Ursa Minor, which is Latin for little bear, refers to the name the couple gave their son before he was born. Naming the bakehouse in his honour hints at the family roots of this artisan business.
The name also reveals the couple’s starry hopes for the business. Ursa Minor is a constellation that includes the brightest star in the sky – the North Star.
Ursa Minor’s Économusée was officially launched as the fourth Économusée in the UK on 13th April 2017.