In a message dated 27/04/2008 01:32:41 GMT Daylight Time, [log in to unmask] writes:
The definition I gave is from the OED.  It said nothing about Liverpool, but I wonder if that is where sailors often set off from?  I imagine in Heaney's context it must mean the stew though.
and see the infamous but oft-useful pages of
- seems not a lot different from traditional staple working class fare everywhere that manifested in such dishes as Irish Stew in that land; Lancashire Hot Pot in that northern english county and Tatie Pot in Cumberland / The Lake District.
(there are some quirks on this theme arising from my own locality where the colliers of one town were disparaged and forever known as 'jam eaters' because stereotypically that was all they could afford to put in their packed lunches [aka 'bait'] for down the mine. Moreover, a particular work site where I once was employed was known locally as 'Drybread' because that was all that the hapless employees of that place could afford to eat.