Have you ever wondered why the people from Carlow are called 'The Scallionaters'?

At last, an explanation

Paul Horan


Paul Horan



Carlow Carlow Carlow

Ah lovely

As a Carlovian and Scallionater I've always been curious as to why Carlow Town and county folk are sometimes referred to as Scallionaters.

Well, I found out why a few years ago when researching other things Carlow.

The 1824 edition of The Encycolpaedia Britannica entry on Carlow refers to Carlow as the most significant onion growing area in Ireland and Britain at the time with Carlow onions being prized in the Dublin and London markets of the day!

An 1836 publication by a Michael Doyle reveals the secret of successful vegetable growing referring specifically to the successful approaches of the Carlow onion growing community in the 19th century!

It therefore stands to reason that to grow large onions - onion drills needed thinning - leaving an abundance of scallions to be eaten by Carlow people - making scallions a key component of the diet of Carlovians for generations!

A number of articles in the Carloviana refer to the origin of the term Scallionaters - one by Murphy and Murchu in 2015 goes so far as to suggest that the townland of Rathnapish just north east of Carlow Town was a key onion area. Rathnapish - is translated to the field of peas.

This is even more fascinating because allotments were reopened on the plots of Rathnapish in the past decade. I myself grew up beside Rathnapish and played as a child on the plots in Rathnapish.

Perhaps Hanover Harps Soccer club need to reclaim the term Scallionater as they play on the fields where the onions were grown and subsequently hawked which created the term Scallionater to refer to the inhabitants of Carlow Town and county.

Curiously Netwatch Cullen Park - county Carlow's GAA Grounds and O'Hanrahan's GAA pitches - also skirt this area.