Come Butter

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  • Teideal (Title): Come Butter.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 853911.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): lore.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Lucy Simpson.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): between 3rd March ahd 5th May 1980.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): unavailable.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

Joe tells Lucy about the belief that a visitor to a house where cream was being churned to make butter had to put their hands on the churn before leaving — or they would take all the butter with them. The person churning could increase the yield of butter by saying ‘Come1 butter! Come butter! Ím an dá bhaile2 seo!‘.


1. ‘Come’ in this context refers to the moment during churning when the butter ‘comes’. That is, solidifies out of the cream.

2. Like it’s broad English equivalent, ‘home’, he Irish word baile can have slightly different meanings, depending on context. In this case, ím an dá bhaile seo (the butter of these two ‘homes’), the word refers to a fairly localised rural geographical area, often centred around one single bóithrín (‘small road’), or bounded by two of them. This area will be known by a generally-recognised placename and be considered a distinct ‘neighbourhood’. A more robust general-purpose translation of baile would be ‘dwelling place’. Although this English form is a little clumsy it is greatly preferable to ‘village’: every village is a baile but not every baile is a village! Similarly, a baile is not the same thing as a baile fearainn (townland).