Farm Ireland

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Could the Dubs be wrong in calling their country cousins 'culchies'?

The little known origin of the term ‘cluchie’ and how the dubs might be getting it all wrong

FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

It seems the word ‘culchie’ does not have its origins in the fields of Mayo but in the waters of Dublin bay

And before that, the word comes from the old French dialect word 'culch', meaning a bed. Now, how this actually transformed into a moniker the Dubs use to mock their country cousins does have agricultural links - but Dublin ones!

Joe Taylor told RTE’s Sunday Miscellany this week that culchie originated from the word 'culch', which was first used in the English language around the early 18th century, when it referred to a bed of broken seashells or other material used for the cultivation of oysters.

At the time Lord Talbot of Malahide leased out the seashore at Malahide for the harvesting of oysters.

“These beds produced large numbers of shellfish and it was estimated 50,000 oysters were consumed in a few days during the Lord Mayor's show in Dublin."

The oysters were cultivated using beds of ‘cluch’ laid down by the oyster men at Malahide, who became known as 'culchies'.

The word developed during Victorian times to describe anyone smelling of manure or rotten material and gradually the word was used to described anyone from outside Dublin City such as people from Malahide, Sutton and Howth where oyster cultivation was happening. 

But it seems the word has transformed to encompass anyone from outside Dublin, rightly or wrongly!

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