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Hacketstown, Co. Carlow



Butterprints came in many shapes (mirror, eye and stamp) and the older ones were all turned from a single piece of wood with the decoration created with wood chipping tools and cutters.

The older types are the mirror shaped ones, and some of these were found in bogs. The eye-shaped butterprints embody the protection from the evil eye in the object design and shape. Stamp prints were the most common and the type most recently used.

Dairy objects were scalded clean and the wood needed to be durable. Sycamore was favoured but white pine, cherry, popular and oak were also used.

Selling butter supplemented the farm income. Decoration of the butter with a design was important to distinguish the maker and the butter from others being sold.

Marigold and flower designs were the most popular. Cows, acorns, shamrocks, thistles, sheaves of corn, swans, hearts, strawberries, suns and circles also were common.

From 1889, with the founding of the co-operative creameries, home dairying declined and butterprints were no longer used for decorating the butter, except for home use.

View an online gallery of butterprints from the Irish Folklife Collection


Butterprint is located at:
In Storage

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