"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.