"You have just passed through the Cloak of Concealment and into the magical realm…"

Would You Eat This?




In a previous post we talked about Irish Bogs and the things found in them, most interestingly, Bog Bodies and Bog Butter, amongst other things. I took this picture in the Cavan County Museum in Ballyjamesduff, which is only five minutes down the road from where I live. It shows some bog butter in a wooden vessel found in a bog in Co Longford, dating back to medieval times, but there have been even older samples found, going back five thousand years!

Ok, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to be eating this particular dish of bog butter…it’s fossilised for a start, so it would probably break your teeth! Not to mention what the peat might do to the flavour…it’s certainly not turning my taste buds on, I don’t know about yours.  But why did they adopt this curious practice of dumping their lovely freshly churned bit of butter in a bog, anyway?

The most popular theory is that the peat bog was used as a kind of refrigerator to preserve the butter, thus prolonging its shelf life until needed. It is also suggested that it was buried in the bog to keep supplies safe from marauders and thieves. As dairy farming was quite common in those times, I’m more inclined to believe in the former. As with most things ancient and Irish, we just don’t know for sure.

Just another intriguing bit of the puzzle that is Ancient Ireland, which I wanted to share with you. Watch out for some yummy Iron Age recipes coming soon…


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16 responses

  1. Pingback: Eating Like the Ancestors; An Experiment in Irish Iron-Age Cuisine | aliisaacstoryteller

  2. I suspect that originally, the butter was in some kind of container, which then rotted away. Either that, or their taste buds allowed them to appreciate the boggy flavour, like Kali water – I can’t stand the taste, but many people love it and it has a peaty, mineral packed taste :)


    April 7, 2014 at 9:12 am

    • Yes you’re prob right. But what is Kali water?!! Sounds horrid!


      April 7, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      • LOL It’s an Irish tonic water type drink – see the following links Ali:




        April 7, 2014 at 5:36 pm

        • Well I never! And its Irish too! Sounds like something youd find in the pharmacy…never heard of it! Lol! Cheers story reading ape, I m gonna get me some of that and put it in me vodka hehe!


          April 7, 2014 at 5:45 pm

          • LOL I’dve thought you were more a poteen girl Ali LOL :D


            April 7, 2014 at 5:55 pm

            • Haha! Yeah right! I brew it in my shed dont you know! Its why the Irish like the potato so much…tbey dont eat it they drink it lol! No, Im more a prosecco type of girl…in fact, I know its only Monday, but why not?


              April 7, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      • Btw Im coming to the conclusion you are an Irish story reading ape lol!


        April 7, 2014 at 5:47 pm

        • Sad to say, only half of me is LOL :D


          April 7, 2014 at 5:56 pm

          • Well Im a heinz 57…part English, part German, part Polish and an Irish great grand-daddy somewhere in the mix I believe!


            April 7, 2014 at 7:22 pm

            • Well, if it’s going to be True Confessions time , I’ve got Scots, Welsh, French, Belgian and Irish from my Mothers side and English, Dutch and French from my Fathers side.
              I’ve only got back to the 16th century, so goodness knows what else there is to be uncovered! :D


              April 7, 2014 at 7:35 pm

            • Wow you went all the way back to the 16C?!! That, my furry friend, is waaaaay impressive! I’d love to do that one day too. Well you are totally mixed up…so stand up and be proud of it!


              April 7, 2014 at 7:55 pm

            • We’re Pedigree Mongrels :D


              April 7, 2014 at 7:57 pm

  3. You found a photo. That’s awesome. I remember talking to you about it some time back. Nice bit of research. It’s amazing what inspires us sometimes. I wrote today how an image of hagstones, forced some hagstones into one of my stories.


    April 6, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    • Yes I came across it quite unexpectedly in my local museum so took a quick snap…couldnt wait to post it!

      Hagstones, eh? Never heard of them but they sound fascinating! I will have to hop along to your blog and check em out!


      April 6, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      • Once I get a cover artist, they’ll show up in Panama. Still waiting on a couple of emails.

        It’s cool that you got to see this, and took the photo yourself. I imagine your museums are very different than the ones here.


        April 6, 2014 at 10:27 pm

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