– by Bill O’ Flynn –
The creamery was erected around the year 1889. I don’t know who built it, but the man who drew the stones were Cornelius O’ Grady, Clasherlane, and Edward Egan, Annagh.
The first manger was some professor from Charleville who was there for two or three years.
William O’ Connor, Burton, then took over and remained there until 1925 when Peter Curtin, later an inspector, took over until 1929. Michael Aherne took charge from 1929 until 1971 when he had to retire for health reasons.
James Doody was manager from 1971 to 1975 when he was replaced by Michael O’ Cal-laghan who was there until 1980, when he was replaced by Michael Casey who was man-ager until 31st December 1982 when the creamery closed.
The store was built some years after the creamery, and Patrick Noonan and Andy Kiely built this.
It was intended for cheese making but this fell through, and it was used for storing wood which came prepared, for butter boxes and other sundries.
The workers had the job of assembling the boxes, which were tapered, being wider at the top. These were then lined with greaseproof paper, and each box took 56lb of butter, for export to England, Scotland and Wales.
Mrs Elizabeth O’Brien had the contract of taking a boat load, 1 ton to Buttevant station, and bringing back 1 ton of coal. The mangers used to travel to England for butter and cream sales, which cost £14.17.3 per trip.
The first engine driver was Patrick Fitzpatrick of Annagh and the staff were Patrick O’ Connor, Annagh, in charge of Dairy; Mark Treacy, Buttermaker; and Thomas Treacy on the skim milk stand.
The manager in the early years and until Ballyclough bought it out in 1939 always stayed in his office and there was a man employed to take the milk.
One of the first was Michael O’ Keeffe who is still living in Dublin and later Jack Ma-hony until 1939.
There was a rampart flowing through Cowhey’s land known as the creamery rampart. Cowhey’s supplied the fields at the back of the creamery for sewage beds. These beds had to be kept open and William Stack and Dan Manning were employed for this work.
When Mark Treacy died the buttermaker was Ms Collins from Boherbue. She continued until Ballyclough took over, when butter making ceased, and apart from what was neces-sary for suppliers, who were paid for any skimmed milk they did not require. The whole milk was taken to Mallow and the cream was separated in churns. There were no tanks on the lorries. Until 1950 the milk was taken in churns by Dan Coughlan and he brought 50.12 gallon churns in the morning and there were 50 ready for him, as he came twice, it meant that he about 1,200gls per day in 1950. This had trebled up to 6,000gls a day in the mid-seventies.
On Patrick Fitzpatrick’s retirement, Patrick O’ Connor took over the engine room and Dairy for some years, and his wages were risen to £1.00 a week while the buttermakers remained at 10 shillings.
In the late twenties, they installed a 45 H.P. diesel engine, which Ballyclough removed when they took over, and put in a 12.5 H.P., as there was no buttermaking. Thomas Treacy retired due to ill health in 1945 and Jackie Flynn replaced him for four years. Patrick O’ Connor retired in 1948 after 50 years service, and was replaced by Bill Flynn who left at the start of 1949, and was replaced by Patrick Fehin, who took redundancy at the start of 1980.
When the store was built, there was a fine upstairs room, and when Michael Aherne came in 1929, he married and as he could not get a house, they installed two stoves, one at ei-ther end, and he lived over the store, for a good while. When Ballyclough bought the creamery, Ms Cowhey refused to give them the field for sewage. They then bought part of a field from John Cronin, Ballyadam, and had to lay pipes through Simcox’s field up to it, and install a pump to pump it up.
The plot is now owned by Cork County Council for treating the sewerage from the vil-lage. John Cronin insisted on a stone wall to divide the field and this wall was built by Dick Grady and Dave Manning. While the cream was pasteurized in the forties, the milk was only heated in a copper cyl-inder; until 1956 when a plate pasteurizer was installed, and this was a great improve-ment. Amusing incidents from old records are:
Edward Egan for drawing sand 8/=shillings
David Hickey for repairs 2/6.
Dennis O’ Sullivan – Cartage £1.00
Richard Flynn (repairs) 7s / 6p
William Stack for cleaning sewage beds 10/=shillings
In 1964, a can washer was installed which would take 20 gal. churns and was not very effective. An addition had to be built to take the washer and as there was no room at the back, they bought two acres form Mr Massarella. A new can washer was installed in 1970 which would only take ten and twelve gallon churns.
The washer was a great help to the suppliers and worked until the end of 1979 when can washing ceased. When the creamery was on its own, the butter’s brand name was Lily Purity Brand, untouched by hands.