Like many other areas in the Blackwater Valley, Buttevant is mentioned by Edmund Spenser in his writings. This village takes its name from the motto of the de Barry family (Anglo-Norman families who arrived in the 13th century) – “Boutez-en-evant”, meaning “Push Forward”. It was the de Barry family who built Buttevant Castle.
The first ever steeplechase took place here in the year 1752, from the Steeple of Buttevant Protestant Church to that of Doneraile, 7km away. The town was always involved with horses. Cahirmee Horse Fair has been a lively annual event every summer for centuries, and it is claimed that Napoleon’s horse, Marengo, was bought at this fair from a Kerryman named O’Connor!
Coincidentally, the Duke of Wellington’s horse at the Battle of Waterloo, an Irish black named Copenhagen, was also purchased at Cahirmee.