14 November 2022
By Elaine Murphy
In the era before airplanes Cork was the last port of call on ships heading across the Atlantic to the USA and Canada. This combined with the many creameries meant it was a world centre of the butter industry
Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD, visited the Butter Museum, Cork over the weekend on Saturday, 12th November, to celebrate its establishment 25 years ago. The Museum, located beside the historical Cork Butter Exchange, Shandon, has welcomed and informed visitors about the importance of the butter trade to the City of Cork, the local economy of the surrounding counties of Munster, and its value to the national economy since the 1700s to modern times.
During his visit, the Taoiseach made presentations of specially commissioned Butter Stamps to two former Butter Museum Chairmen, former General Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Michael Dowling and Cobh Dairy Farmer, David Bird, in recognition of their extraordinary commitment to the development of the Butter Museum over two decades. Since 1997, the Butter Museum has welcomed almost a quarter of a million visitors from home and abroad and attracted positive critiques including the New York Times. The Museum collection ranges from thousand year old bog butter, held courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland, to a representative selection of traditional butter making equipment to a fine collection of co-op butter wrappers from the regional but now consolidated dairy manufacturers. Video, audio, image and text enhance the visitor’s engagement with the collection and the world of which it speaks.
The Museum is funded by its visitor income and with the support of the Department of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Gaeltacht and Media (whose additional support over the past few years was essential), Cork City Council, Ornua and Dairygold. Recreate Shandon Recreate Shandon is a not-for-profit company established by people with links to the Shandon Area to renovate the disused Cork Butter Exchange Building and create a technology hub. Support has been forthcoming from private interests, Cork City Council and Enterprise Ireland.