A history of Ireland in 100 objects – An Empty Cooking Pot from about 1845

This Irish Times article from Fintan O’Toole’s  excellent ‘A History of Ireland in 100 Objects ‘ series, links back very nicely to my recent post on Knockfierna, County Limerick and the remnants of the Famine Village there. Click to read about the importance of this pot in Irish households. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2012/0901/1224323426718.html

A history of Ireland in 100 objects.

The Irish Times



Filed under Irish Diaspora, Irish Heritage, Irish History, Social History Ireland

7 responses to “A history of Ireland in 100 objects – An Empty Cooking Pot from about 1845

  1. Lyn

    Hi Angela, you have reminded me about the Bastable/Bastible pot. I know what it is, but I’d love to know why it is called that as my Grandmother’s surname was Bastable and the family was from County Cork. So far I have not been able find any history on its origins.

    • Hi Lyn. I think a bastible was a flat pot with a lid, or am I mistaken? They made bread in those and sometimes cooked a chicken in them . My great aunt Maggie had one. Like the three legged pot above, it was suspended over an open turf fire on a ‘crane’ and when she was cooking ‘a cake of bread’ she would put hot coals on the lid to ensure it cooked from the top as well. Have no idea of the origin of the name, but I must enquire! The surname is unusual too – did they by any chance have an iron foundry?
      Thanks for passing by. Angela

      • Lyn. I have had some fun looking for bastibles! Not a mention in any dictionary and my oldest one was published in 1929. Need to pop into a library to see if there might be a universal Oxford Dictionary that has every word ever used.
        The earliest reference to bastible that I found was in a publication called The Irish Monthly, published in 1892. In it is quoted:
        ‘On the tidy hearth there was a ‘bastible’ or pot-oven, with red hot turf glowing under it and over it and there was wafted from it a delicious odour of cake’ . This is from ‘Kitties Delinquencies’ by Jessie Tulloch.
        In Irish Fields and Houses: a study of rural culture published in Béaloideas in 1935 they say:
        ‘The fireplace is fitted with a ‘croch’ or crane and a ‘droll’ hanger for supprting pots and ovens in cooking and also wth a crann arain(tripod) on which the griddle rests when bread is being baked. The built-in oven is quite unknown here as the iron bácús or bastible is the only vessel except the ‘greideal,’ griddle on which bread is baked.
        There is a suggestion that these pots were manufactured in Barnstaple in England and that the name is derived from that . Not convinced of that just yet 🙂

  2. thanks for sharing this interesting link Angela. Like you it reminded me of a Famine site..in my case the burial ground in Scarriff in North east Co Clare.

  3. Hi Angela, just found this again – I must not have had notifications on. They say the surname Bastable has morphed from the town of Barnstaple in England too. I know there are other branches in the UK so perhaps it did. They were patternmakers and the like so I have suspected that perhaps they made them and hence the name – although it doesn’t seem like there is anything extraordinary about the design and I would have thought 3 legged cooking pots would have been around for centuries.

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