Collected by Peggie Regan, Clochar na Trocaire N.S. from John Joe Conneely, Kinvara, Co. Galway
There is a vast difference between the food the people have nowadays and the food the people had in olden days. Long ago the people never heard of a four course dinner or a lunch or they never heard of an hotel or a restaurant.
The people long ago used to eat three meals a day but they could hardly be called meals because, they were very scanty ones and they nearly always consisted of the same food. They used to call the meals breakfast, dinner and supper.
The people of long ago used to get up at daybreak and they used to have nearly a day’s work done before they ate any breakfast. The breakfasts of the people at that time were very poor ones and they only consisted of a few boiled potatoes with salt. In lots of cases the working men who used to work in the gardens used to dig up a few potatoes out of the garden and roast them in a fire which they used to make. This used to serve as a breakfast for the poor people. Before potatoes were ever heard of the people used to eat stir about made from indian-meal.
They used to have their dinner at about four o clock and they used to have potatoes for dinner also. Often times they used to drink a mug of very sour butter milk. Some of the people used to eat boiled “nettles” and “dock leaves”. They used to boil yellow flowers called “braisce” which grow in cabbage gardens and eat them for their dinner.
If the people ever got a herring for dinner the mother used to boil a big pot of potatoes and fry the herring. She used then throw the potatoes into a thing called a “scib” and they used all sit round it on the floor. She used then put the herring on a plate with gravy on “dip” as they used to call it. The mother used then say to the children “dip the praties in the dip and leave the herring to your father”.
For their supper then they used to have potatoes sometimes and boxty bread which was made out of raw potatoes. Other times they used to have oatmeal porridge and milk. They used to drink the milk out of vessels called noggins and there is a man living in “Crushoa” by the name of “Thomas Quinn” who has a few of these noggins still.
The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0049, Page 0337, Duchas © National Folklore Collection, UCD.