Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Agriculture, Husbandry, Economics, Sociology, Ethnology, Cultural and economic geography, Interdisciplinary, History, Musicology

Publication Details

Mac Con Iomaire, M. and P. Gallagher (2011) Irish Corned Beef: A Culinary History. Journal of Culinary Science and Technology. Vol 9, No. 1


This article proposes that a better knowledge of culinary history enriches all culinary stakeholders. The article will discuss the origins and history of corned beef in Irish cuisine and culture. It outlines how cattle have been central to the ancient Irish way of life for centuries, but were cherished more for their milk than their meat. In the early modern period, with the decline in the power of the Gaelic lords, cattle became and economic commodity that was exported to England. The Cattle Acts of 1663 and 1667 affected the export trade of live cattle and led to a growing trade in salted Irish beef, centred principally on the city of Cork. Irish corned beef provisioned the British navy fleets for over two centuries. It was also shipped to the English and French colonies. The paper discusses the growth of the corned beef industry and how Irish immigrants popularised corned beef and cabbage in America. It also presents evidence of corned beef consumption in Ireland as a festive food. Changing meat consumption patterns in modern Ireland are discussed and the negative influence of canned South American ‘bully beef’ on traditional Irish corned beef is highlighted. The influence of war on changing dietary habits and on accelerating food innovation is also discussed.