Making Butter in Kilmaley

The Clare People, Tuesday, November 20, 2007

By Shane Murphy

The clocks turned back in Kilmaley last week when residents the local day care centre provided a hands-on demonstration in butter making.

Using an authentic butter churn, the residents of Kilmaley Day Care Centre relived an age-old practice, much to the delight of students from Kilmaley National School.

The demonstration was organised by the Clare Museum as part of its outreach work in communities across the county.

According to Mr. John Rattigan, Curator, Clare Museum, “I brought a handling collection from the museum to the day care centre, and tried to encourage people to bring in artefacts from their own homes. Over the next couple of weeks, we found that we had amassed most of the equipment needed to make home made butter in the traditional way, and we decided to give it a go.”

He continued, “ Most of the material is probably less than 50 years old, and I was told that the glass churn represented the height of fashion in 1950’s Ireland. Somebody else brought in the butter pats for shaping the butter and, more importantly, all brought in the knowledge of how to make butter.”

Clare Museums outreach programme has been well received around the county since its conception in early 2005.

During 2005 and 2006, the clients of Ennistymon Hospital and Daycare Centre and Raheen Hospital and Daycare Centre were invited to take part in a reminiscence project called Preserving the Past for the Future.

Participants were invited to bring family heirlooms, or objects that represented the lives or achievements of either themselves or their relatives, and to recall memories associated with them.

“ None of the children present at the demonstration realised that butter was once made at home by their grandparents’ generation.” Explained Mary Ita Griffin, Manager of the Kilmaley Daycare Centre.

Ms. Griffin stated, “ The fascination of watching cream turn into golden butter proved to be an enjoyable learning experience for kids and adults alike. I would like to express my gratitude to Clare Museum, the children of Kilmaley National School, and, most of all, everyone who attends Kilmaley Daycare Centre for their enthusiasm.”

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