"The butter roads funneled goods, people and life from far flung parts of the county into Cork city, the maritime capital of Ireland. Much as our veins bring our life blood to our hearts"


Historically, the butter roads funneled goods, people and life from far flung parts of the county into Cork city, the maritime capital of Ireland. Much as our veins bring our life blood to our hearts.Using the idea of butter roads crisscrossing the countryside is a useful reminder of the role Ireland, and Cork in particular, has played in developing the food industry not just in Ireland but globally too. The butter market in Cork was originally established in 1730 but had moved indoors by 1769. It became the most important supplier of butter in Britain and Ireland and exported produce across the world. In today’s context, this area still produces and also exports quality Irish food and beverages.

Travel conditions in Cork and Kerry had gotten so poor that a special Act of Parliament (slide) was passed in 1747 for the building of 56 miles of road, some of it new and some of it reconstruction. John Murphy, the road contractor from Castleisland, began his biggest project. John was to begin at the Kerry Pike, to go on to Millstreet and to diverge from there to reach Killarney via Rathmore (or Shannagh-Mill as was stated at the time) and Listowel via Castleisland. Another part of John’s remit was to put tollhouses and turnpike gates in place with tolls to be collected for the span of 61 years from May 1st 1748. This marks 270 years anniversary of this particular road which became simply known as the Butter Road.To this day the Butter Road remains a unique survival of 18th century engineering and has largely kept its original width. Even the original sunken drains have survived for some sections.



The co-operative group of family run and owned eateries and food producers that form the kernel of the network show their credentials with the display of a milk churn, representing the time when butter was transported to Cork City via Millstreet, Kanturk, Macroom, Mallow, Mitchelstown and many other local lanes, boreens and roads.


The Old Butter Roads Food Trails initiative promotes the local Producers, Eateries and Visitor Attractions in the area. Many of our members are our country’s Food Heroes.  Together, we celebrate the rich heritage of food production in the area of the Old Butter Roads (Avondhue Blackwater, Duhallow and Muskerry areas of Munster). We meet as a group several times a year, we talk about what’s happening in the food and hospitality industry, we organise special events, tours, trails and festivals. We buy, cook, sell, recommend and promote each other’s products and services.


Our ambition is not only to increase use of the produce of Old Butter Roads Food Trails members in all associated businesses but to also put all the producers, markets, eateries—Food Champions—on the “Food Map” of Ireland. We celebrate the area’s rich food heritage, which allows our customers to have memorable experiences. We also tap into the stories of Muskerry, Duhallow & Avondhu/Blackwater regions to develop a distinct food identity for the area. By combining all these elements, we are developing a unique, authentic tourism proposition in Ireland’s most southern county for domestic and overseas visitors alike.

 The Commitee







Maire Ní Mhurchu  (Chairperson)

The Old Butter Roads group was formed in December 2015 when three women (Maire together with Martina and Tricia , the owners of the Square Table restaurant in Blarney) discovered a common passion for the great local foods in the area of North and North West Cork. Maire taught Cookery, Home Economics and Irish for many years in North Cork and has a deep understanding of the local food producers, eateries and industry. Cork has a rich food heritage which you can explore with Maire. She runs Cork Food Tours offering Food Tours in Cork city and the region of the Old Butter Roads. Maire is an Inbound Tour Agent whose company ActivityDays offers Guided Tours with local guides in many activities in the south of Ireland.  The second website she runs is CustisandHooper.ie offering Guided Group activity as well as packages of 3 and 5 day trips in Ireland. She is passionate about the locally produced foods, exploring their history and the great outdoors of the Butter Roads. 


T: 087 412 9698

E: Maire@ ActivityDays.ie    Maire@CurtisandHooper.ie





Lenka Forrest (Secretary)

Lenka joined the Old Butter Roads Food Trails network early on when she opened her Old Blarney Post Office Café in April 2016. Lenka, even though she is a blow-in, has a deep and genuine passion for the people, culture, heritage and food of the south of Ireland. In her café she uses locally sourced produce wherever possible and many of the Old Butter Roads Food Trails members feature strongly on the café’s menu. She is also an avid storyteller and a mushroom hunter.

T: 083 8534355

E: lenka.forrest@gmail.com





Patricia Cronin

Tim McCarthy
Standards & Code Of Conduct Principles

Martina Cronin
Standards & Code Of Conduct Principles


Patrick Mulcahy   
N.Cork Co-Ordinator   

Patricia Cronin
Blarney Co-Ordinator   

Rubert Atkinson
Mallow Co-Ordinator

Toby Simmonds
Macroom Co-Ordinator

Zwena McCollough
Education Officer