The Butter Museum is a unique institution, celebrating one of the great success stories of Ireland, the butter trade. Located in the historic Shandon area of Cork city, the story begins with the central role of dairy culture in the Island of Saints and Scholars. The Museum goes on to describe the internationally important Butter Exchange in nineteenth century Cork, the traditional craft of home butter making and the modern success of the Kerrygold brand. In the course of this story, the commercial, social, and domestic life of Ireland is recalled. Beginning with the origins of dairying in Ireland, this gallery displays deals with the Irish practice of preserving butter in bogs, the importance of milch cows in medieval Ireland and cattle raiding.
The entire ground-floor gallery displays traditional butter-making equipment. The development of the dairy industry in the twentieth century is also explored and the story is brought completely up-to-date with an audio-visual presentation on the industry since the early 1960’s. Throughout the Museum the displays are enhanced by clear and informative panels covering all aspects of the dairy culture in Ireland. A gallery in the Museum is dedicated to the culture of cattle and dairying in Early Ireland. In this society, cows were not simply a source of valuable foods, such as butter and cheese, but also the measure of wealth and standing. The Butter Museum, Exhibition Area – showing a keg of thousand-year-old butter. The gallery features a keg of thousand-year-old butter and accompanying panels on the food and society in the Ireland of Saints and Scholars.