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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

"The Scallion-Eaters"

"The Scallion-Eaters"

The following was re-published in "The Irish Times", sometime in the mid 1990's. It was originally published in "The Irish Times", June 1st, 1934.

For years I have wondered why the people of Carlow town should be referred to, on occasion, as scallion-eaters, especially by the dwellers in neighbouring towns. Now I know, and for the information I am indebted to an old book on the public shelves of the National Library. It was published early in the nineteenth century, and here is an extract: "A hundred acres of land about Carlow are parcelled out in two and three-acre pieces to a number of cottagers, who supply Dublin and most of Leinster with onions. The people are well clothed, in comfortable habitations, and, if their industry was generally practised, the cry of poverty of the Irish peasant would soon cease. The grower of onions divides his garden into quarters, the succession being onions, potatoes, barley and clover. He puts all the manure he can get on his onions, and he prefers street scrapings to all other. Here is industry, here is exertion; no price will stop the onion-grower in the purchase of manure."

The Carlow onions may be things of the past, but in Ireland the nickname inspired by those crops of long ago will never die.


Sent in by Peter Walker Jan 2007

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