Household Baskets

Explore traditional baskets used around the house

The most common baskets used in and around the house were potato baskets, known as skibs. They were known by various names around the country including ciseogs in Galway and potato teaming baskets. 

Skibs were used to strain and serve a meal of potatoes. They were also used for carrying dug potatoes from the field and to hold seed potatoes at planting time and carrying chopped turnips to stock. The boiled potatoes were spilled into the skib for straining and then served in the skib in the middle of the floor, perhaps over a pot.  Tables only became popular in the traditional Irish house in the late 19th century.

The National Museum’s collection includes circular, oval or u-shaped potato baskets. An example from Ballingeary, Co. Cork on display in the Museum galleries was made by first bending a hazel rod into a U-or horseshoe-shape.  The circular skib from Donegal is known locally as ‘bascoid geal’ has white warp rods and red weft rods which were dyed at home by the maker.

Also on display are straw hen's nest and a turf basket and an egg basket used to carry eggs to market.  It is made with a deep foot around the base to absorb shocks when travelling in a cart. Other smaller baskets in the collection include a sweet basket in a very different in style from country basket makers.  It is made of peeled osiers and raffia and in a basket making factory in Letterfrack established in the late 19th century by the philanthropist Miss Sturge.

Explore the Collection further by visiting the Museum's exhibition galleries. The smaller baskets on display include: 

Basket Maker exhibition

Shallow dish Skib made by Patrick McNamara, Ennistimon, Co. Clare. (F1930:7).

Shopping Basket. (F1968:199)

Sweet Basket made in a basket making factory in Letterfrack established by a Miss Sturge. (F1993.315).

‘Kisheen’ Basket, associated with Aran Islands, Galway. (F1928:424).

101 Uses for Straw. 

Straw basket. (F1958:53).

Growing the Potatoes Exhibition.

Potato basket/ ciathóg made by Denis Mahoney, Clonakilty, Co. Cork. (F1950:59).

Tending Farm Animals.

Calf muzzle, known as a calf saucepan, made by Michael Coughlan, Ballygar, Co. Roscommon. (F1960:21).

Around the hearth.

Turf Basket from Keash, Ballymote, (F1950:40). 

Making the Meals.

Sciathóg, in Cork/Kerry Style associated with Ballingeary, Co. Cork (F1950:160).

 Skib (bascoid geal) Made by Padraig O h-Ioin, Glencolmcoille, Co. Donegal. (F1949.75).

Egg Basket, made by Frank Kelly, Ballyforan, Co. Roscommon.  (F1961:8).

Straw Hen’s nest. Made by Myles McGourty, Ballinaglera, Co. Leitrim. (F1957:43). 

Straw Hen’s nest.  Made by Francis Flanagan, Bawnboy, Co. Cavan (F1957:90).