Thursday 20 June 2019

Take a walk along the Butter Road

Millstreet Matters

John Tarrant

The Aubane Social Club and friends are looking forward to a walk along the famous Butter Road on this Sunday.

As part of the IRD Bealtaine festival, the walk commences at 2pm from Aubane Community Centre to the Kerryman's Table and returning to the Community Centre.

An historic route, the thoroughfare is a 56-mile link between Cork and Kerry that was in operation from 1748 after the granting of an Act of Parliament.

The gentry of the time opened up a route from developing Kerry with Cork city.

Castleisland's John Murphy undertook the €8,000 initial investment.

In today's terms, that's worth millions of Euros.

Murphy had intended to obtain his outlay from tolls placed on travellers, carts and cattle.

Unfortunately, the plan failed to bear fruit as the venture was unviable during the early years.

Yet the popularity of the route grew dramatically on the growth of the butter markets. Indeed, the Butter Road developed towns and villages en-route from Killarney - including Rathmore, Millstreet, Rylane and Tower - as merchants transported their products to the Cork Butter Exchange in Shandon Street.

And at the turn of the 1800s, the great Daniel O'Connell took to the route on his Catholic Emancipation crusade whilst there were numerous stories relating to peasant life.

Superstitions about the Highway men often referred to Robin Hood figures that were associated with the famous road.

Butter became one of the main exports from Ireland to the West Indies and South America, mainly due to the mild climate and the many dairy farms in Ireland.

One of the main butter roads ran in an almost straight line from Castleisland, Kerry, to the Butter Exchange in Cork city, where the butter was auctioned off to the highest bidder.

The peasant farmers travelled by donkey and cart, bringing their goods to market, and it was a long journey in all weathers.


Comhaltas anniversary night

Millstreet Comhaltas Ceolteoirí hosts a 40th Anniversary function in the Wallis Arms Hotel, Millstreet, this Saturday night .

The Millstreet branch formed in 1979, and membership grew to include many local people, who enjoyed Irish music and shared the vision of Comhaltas through performing music, song and dancing.

Over the years, the branch has been hugely successful in Fleadhanna Cheoil competitions, with members winning numerous awards at county, provincial and All-Ireland level. Today, Millstreet CCÉ continues to go from strength to strength, thanks in no small part to the large numbers of talented young musicians, singers and dancers within the catchment area, who are keeping our Irish traditional culture alive.

Credit, too, to the experienced and innovative branch committee, who put forward a fresh impetus for the promotion of all Comhaltas-oriented activities.

Millstreet CCÉ has had a continuous history of promoting cultural activities; hosting fleadhanna cheoil; holding traditional music and dancing classes; performing at all local events and competing at all Fleadhanna to cultural exchanges. The celebrations will include a meal, music, song, dance and CD launch.