The traveller who hasn’t been to Mullinahone cannot say he has travelled at all, quoted Archbishop Dermot Clifford from the well known song when he officially opened the 29th Kickham Country Weekend in the town on Friday night.
But he added that the man who hasn’t been educated at a creamery cannot say he has been educated at all!
The theme of the opening lecture was the impact of creameries on life in South Tipperary and was given by Maynooth professor Prionnsias Breathnach.
He was introduced by retired chairman of Mullinahone Co-Op Gerry Barrett who also chaired a forum on the lecture as the creamery movement held centre stage on the opening night of the now highly popular August gathering in Mullinahone.
It commemorates the life and times of the town’s famous son Charles J. Kickham and the impact his writings have had.
And Mullinahone, as the home of Mullinahone Co-Op, now trading successfully for 118 years, was an appropriate location for a discussion on the creamery and co-op movement.
It is now the longest creamery in operation in the country, having celebrated its centenary in 1993. It is still thriving today and its market for cheese exports includes Japan.
Archbishop Clifford recalled his young days as a child travelling to the creamery with his father in his native Co Kerry and how it had been such a hub of social activity and conversation.
“There was no generation gap, just young and old enjoying each other’s company together, and discussing the local news, the weather and sport. It was most instructive for young people, an informal school, where philosophy was taught free of charge. There’s a great lack when people haven’t been educated at what happens in a creamery growing up”.
He said he also had an association with creameries in Africa after he had been invited to Malawi with Bothar and was asked to open a new creamery or milk plant there.
However a local government minister arrived and felt he should be entitled to open it instead.
When the organisers told him that he had made no input to the development, he replied that he would build the roads to transport the milk.
“So I discovered that politicians all over the world have that bit of roguery”.
Full story in this week’s Tipperary Star