In the late 18th and early 19th century Cork was a boom town on the back of the provision trade. The various British colonies and the British Navy and Army were supplied and many from a modest background came from the shadows of the penal Laws to establish fortunes, many of whose families are still prominent in Cork. The drawing below shows the Butter Market probably in the early 19th century. In its heyday its insistence on quality and honest dealing made it the benchmark for world butter prices.
In an interesting book recently published John A. Quish “100 Years of going to the Creamery he points out that after the famine Irish butter dominated the British market. By 1900 it had been displaced by the Danes whose quality and all year around supply ensured that they had a dominant position. He also chronicles the work of Horace Plunkett and Forbes in building up the Co-Op movement. Often their work fell on fallow ground against a background of suspicion and ignorance.