Boxty & Colcannon, Irish Food Associated With Halloween.

“Boxty on the griddle, Boxty in your pan, if you can’t make good Boxty, sure you’ll never get a man,” ~ Old Irish aphorism.


Boxty; pronounced ‘bacstaí,’ was also known as ‘arán bocht tí,’, (Irish meaning ~ “poor-house bread”), or cáca bacstaí‎ (Irish meaning ~ “boxty cake,”), same a traditional Irish potato pancake dish.
The dish is mostly associated with the North West and Midlands of Ireland.


Colcannon; (Irish: ‘cál ceannann,’, meaning “white-headed cabbage”), is a traditional Irish dish made up of mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage or kale.
A now dying Irish Halloween tradition, was to serve colcannon with a ring, hidden in the mix; superstition declaring that whoever found it, was next to marry; or a hidden thimble, meaning you would remain a spinster for the coming year.
Other hidden prizes included small coins, such as a threepenny bit or a sixpenny bit; both indicating good fortune or you were about to come into sudden wealth.
Other items could also include a small stick indicating unhappiness in future marriage, or a small piece of rag denoting future poverty.

Suffice is to say that both dishes warranted the writing of songs in praise of the distinctive taste and delightful flavour of both Irish dishes.

Little Skillet Pot’ or ‘Colcannon’.

Written by Sean Nolan.

Well did you ever make colcannon
Made with lovely pickled cream,
With the greens & scallions mingled,
Like a pitcher in a dream.
Did you ever make a hole on top,
To hold the melting flake,
Or the creamy flavoured butter,
That our mother’s used to make.


Oh you did, so you did,
So did he and so did I.
And the more I think about it,
Sure the nearer I’m to cry.
Oh weren’t them the happy days,
When troubles we knew not.
And our mother made colcannon,
In the little skillet pot.

Well, did you ever take potato cake
And boxty to the school.
Tucked underneath your oxter,

With your books, your slate and rule.
And when teacher wasn’t looking,
Sure a great big bite you’d take,
Of the creamy flavoured soft and melting,
Sweet potato cake.

Repeat Chorus.

Well did you ever go a courting boys,
When the evening sun went down,
And the moon began a peeping,
From behind the Hill O’ Down.
And you wandered down the boreen,
Where the Clúrachán* was seen,
And you whispered loving praises,
To your own dear sweet cáilín*,

Repeat Chorus


* ‘Clúrachán’ ~ A mischievous fairy in Irish folklore.
* ‘Cáilín’ ~ girl.


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