Monday 24 June 2019

270 reasons to celebrate the old Butter Road

John Tarrant

Friends and associates of the famous Butter Road had 270 reasons to be proud of the scenic route following a special birthday get together in Aubane Community Centre last Friday night.

Those present convened to acknowledge one of the first planned highways of the 18th century.

The unique 56 mile route links Kerry with Cork City, and the road is exactly 270 years old, operating from 1748 after the granting of an Act of Parliament. Castleisland's John Murphy undertook the €8,000 initial investment. He intended to obtain his outlay from tolls placed on travellers, carts and cattle.

Unfortunately, the plan failed to bear fruition, the venture proved non-viable during the early years yet the popularity of the route grew dramatically with 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.

Having originated during peasant-like conditions, the famous road endured Penal Times, the Famine, highwaymen to the famous 'Ghost of Mamma'. 270 years on, Aubane Social Club and friends came together to pay a tribute to a celebrated route.

Chairman John F Kelleher applauded all on contributing to the success of the event - the Aubane staging  is just one of many events planned during the month to salute the historic route.

"We are part of the Old Butter Roads, a celebration acknowledging excellence in locally produced food and beverages. It's the co-operative group of family run and owned eateries and food producers that allowed us showcase their products in addition to toasting the birthday of a special road that's special in Aubane", he said.

And those attending the Butter Boad commemoration enjoyed produce from the Old Butter Roads Food Trails. On the menu were products from McCarthy Butchers, Kanturk; Longueville House Beverages, Mallow; Ballinwillin House and Farm, Mitchelstown; Folláin, Ballyvourney; Annabella Farm, Mallow; Michael Twomey Butchers, Macroom; Castlecor Potatoes, Kilbrin; North Cork Co-Op;, Mitchelstown; Hegarty's Cheese, Whitechurch; Toonsbridge Cheese and Bluebell Falls Cheese, Charleville.