Food During the Famine

Kilkerrin, Co. Galway

During the famine and after it when the people had a scarcity of food oaten meal was their staff of life. They made bread from it and baked it in various ways. “Caca poca” was their chief food. It was made as follows:- A cake was made from oaten meal and cut into parleys. These were put into a pot of boiling porridge called “brothan” and left to cook for some time. When cooked it was allowed to cool and it was then eaten with the porridge.

Baked between two leaves

Leice faoi Cupóig: An oaten cake was made with water and meal and baked between two leaves of cabbage near the fire. This was called “leirce faoi cupóig”

Leice bán: This was made from oaten meal and new milk or sheep’s milk. The milk was first boiled and the meal was then added and allowed to boil. When boiled it was served in plates with butter and sugar.
This was also used for dressing cabbage when the people were unable to buy bacon. The cabbage was first boiled and a little piece of bacon was fried in the pan. The dripping of the bacon and the “leice bán” were mixed with the cabbage and in this way it was dressed.

Sgailcin: This was cooked in the same manner as the leice bán but it was made with butter-milk and oaten-meal. When boiled it was served with butter and sugar.


This was another substantial food which the people had long ago. It was made as follows:- Meal was put into a cup or a mug and was first mixed with a little hot water, then cream or milk and sugar were added and it was eaten immediately.
The people used to eat this food between breakfast and dinner as they rose very early and had an early breakfast.


This used to be made by steeping some seeds that remained after the grinding of the oats. When steeping for about two days it got sour, and the liquid was then strained and boiled for an hour. When boiled it was served hot in plates with sugar.

Collector: Angela Mannion, Lissacarha, Co. Galway

Informant: Patrick Mannion, Lissacarha, Co. Galway

Place: Kilkerrin, Co. Galway

Footnote: Duchas,


This page was added on 13/05/2017.

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