The Story of Cappamore Creamery


The Story of Cappamore Creamery

by Denis O'Malley

The late 1800’s saw the start of developments in the farming industry with the opening of the first creamery in Cappamore which was run by a Danish company. It was situated at Lynch’s yard, at Bridge Street and was known as Cullen’s creamery.

It was managed by a Mr Peterson, a native of Denmark who was married to Mary McCarthy of Bridge Street.

When it closed down the property was purchased by Mr William Lynch Senior who then built a residence there. The creamery also had a branch at Glosha.

Cappamore Co-operative Agricultural and Dairy Society was formed in 1902 and the creamery was established then. Cappamore took over Glosha creamery in 1928. The Society increased it’s turnover from £50,000 in 1951 to £1.5 million in 1973.

In 1970 a considerable business was developed supplying milk and cream to Dublin for the retail trade. Previous to this milk and cream were transported to Dublin in 20 gallon tanks by train.

This was an inefficient and time consuming business as the tanks had to be returned and individually cleaned. Cappamore creamery introduced the first tank trucks in Limerick, ensuring highest hygiene standards for this developing market. In approximately 1966 a new mill was constructed in Cappamore which was capable of producing 40 tonnes of foodstuffs per day. It employed 4-6 people depending on how busy it was.

With the development of markets in Dublin approximately 30 people were employed in Cappamore and its branches, including truck drivers. This in turn created a spin off industry in truck servicing, and the new mill supplied feedstuffs to farmers at keener prices. 


Ireland’s entry into the European Economic Community in 1973 led to major developments and changes in farming. By 1974 Cappamore Creamery had new stores, offices, modern stainless steel equipment , and a large fleet of trucks. Farmers were encouraged to improve their holdings with a Farm Building Service set up to offer credit to farmers at low, or no interest, rates to install silos, ice bank coolers etc.

The Cappamore Co-Operative was steadily developing and after much consideration it was decided that together with Dromkeen, Annacotty, and Bunratty Creameries they would amalgamate with Ballyclogh Co-Op whose headquarters were at Mallow, County Cork. This guaranteed the farmers of the area more security, a good price for their milk, and an assured outlet at all times, along with access to the Barley growing areas of County Cork. Cappamore Co-operative Agricultural and Dairy Society were entitled to a representation of eight members on the committee of the amalgamated society.


For a number of years after the 1974 amalgamation the mill at Cappamore was in full production, but a much larger, more modern mill was built at Mallow to cater for a wider range of products. As this was much more cost effective than the Cappamore mill, it was decided to alter the mill premises in Cappamore and change its use to a modern hardware and general purpose store and this opened on June 10th 1989.  The store’s purpose was to cater for all farm requirements and hardware needs in the area.

From 1986 to 1988 another big change took place in farming where milk was now collected from farms in bulk refrigerated tanks. This was the end of an era for small creameries, and also the end of an important social process for rural farmers who no longer met at the creamery while delivering their milk. One no longer witnessed the queue of horses and carts waiting to deliver their milk outside the creamery, as the owners chatted about all topics from the matches at the weekend to politics to the latest news of Births, Deaths, and marriages. Many people passed messages to neighbours and friends via the creamery queue as it has to be remembered that most houses in Ireland at the time would not have had a telephone.

New days brought new ways, and modern equipment found its own niche as indeed computerisation has since done.