14 Food and Drink Riddles from Old Ireland

A dive into The Schools’ Collection as part of the National Folklore Collection at the University College Dublin is a real treasure trove of content from yesteryear. From 1937 to 1939 more than 50,000 schoolchildren across Ireland were invited to submit their folklore tales in their home towns and villages. This led to a collection of stories, oral histories, legends, recipes, crafts, trades, pasttimes - and riddles.

Here is an excerpt of those riddles with a food and drink theme. See if you can solve the riddle (but if stuck the answers follow below).

  1. What is it that is full and can hold more?

  2. A little white house full of meat and no door to get into to eat.

  3. Riddle me, riddle me randio. My father gave me seeds to sow, the seeds were black and the ground was white riddle me that before tonight?

  4. Come a riddle, come a riddle, rot, tot, tot. / A little wee man with a red, red coat; / A stick in his hand a stone in his throat. / Come a riddle, come a riddle, rot, tot, tot.

  5. What has all patches and no stitches?

  6. I have a little sister in the ditch and if you go near her she will give you the itch.

  7. What goes in dry and comes out wet?

  8. Under the fire and over the fire and never touches the fire.

  9. Flower of England, fruit of Spain, met together in a shower of rain, put in a bag and tied with a string, riddle me that and I will buy you a ring.

  10. There it is there and a thousand eyes in it.

  11. As soft as silk as white as milk as bitter as gall and a strong wall and a green coat covers me all?

  12. Think thank under the bank ten drawing four.

  13. As I went out a slippery gap I met my uncle Davie I cut off his head drank his blood and left his body easy.

  14. I have but one horn I am no unicorn I give sweet milk and I am no Kerry cow, but grandma loves me and round the board shooves me with a smile of content on her brow.

Did any sound familiar? Stumped? Here are the answers to the above riddles.

A1: A pot of potatoes when the water is poured in.

A2. An egg.

A3. A flour cake with caraway seeds.

A4. A cherry.

A5. A head of cabbage.

A6. A nettle.

A7. Tea

A8. A cake in the oven.

A9. A plum pudding.

A10. A pot of soup.

A11. A walnut.

A12. A woman milking a cow.

A13. A bottle of wine.

A14. Tea-pot