School: St John of God Convent, Rathdowney (roll number 16203)

Rathdowney, Co. Laois
The Sisters

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Food in Olden Times

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0828, Page 102

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We are not surprised to see that the blight on the potato crop in 1846 and 1847 meant famine when we are told that the potato was the principal food used my the people. Mrs Loughman, Galmoy, aged 87 told me that potatoes were used at two of the three meals taken daily. Breakfast at eight o clock consisted f potatoes, salt and milk. The milk was usually sour. Porridge made from Indian meal and not very skilfully cooked, was used for dinner. Potatoes were again used for supper. Only old people were allowed to have tea, and if any member was given a cup of tea on Sunday morning he was highly honoured. Before cups became common, earthen ware vessels called noggins were used. Wooden dishes made by a turner in a lead were also used. Porridge was served on pewter plates and wooden spoons were used. The pewters were a dull leaden colour and were very heavy. My uncle residing in Tullavolty, has fourteen pewter plates and a teapot of the same metal in his possession. If they are not valuable they are at least rare and ancient. The tables were sometimes made like an armchair, when they were not in use.They could be folded up with the table itself as the back of the chair.

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Mary Harte