A suggested origin of the word comes from an old Gaelic term "cúl a' tí", meaning the back of the house. It was, and still is to a certain extent, common practice in rural areas to enter a neighbour's house through the back door, rather than the front (which is for more formal visits). Thus the term cúl a' tí or culchie was applied to these country people. Also, many city dwellers from Dublin tenements had to work as servants. The servants were not permitted to enter the house from the front but had to use the back door or servants entrance. However the latter does not explain why country people (as opposed to city people) are called "culchies".
Another possible derivation is from the Irish coillte meaning "the wood/forest", to describe people who lived in the woods. Yet another perceived derivation, however, comes from a shortening and alteration of Kiltimagh, a town in County Mayo. A further, simpler, explination is that the word derives from the word agriCULTURE, highlighting the industrial/agricultural divide between rural and urban populations.
There is an Annual Culchie Festival in Athboy, Co.Meath every August to find "The culchie of the year". Contestants come from all over Ireland, and abroad. The applicant is considered to have a good chance if he can dress in old clothes, drive an old Honda 50 motorcycle, and is well prepared to get his hands dirty trying to earn a living. A direct manner, a positive optimistic outlook on life, and a complex sense of humour also help. This competition is purely humorous.
Culchies are seen as simple people who have a fairly direct manner, physical strength, limited social skills, and a rich accent.
The comedian Pat Shortt has made a successful living out of being a culchie comedian. He has his own television series, Killinascully, based on a theme of culchies in a village in rural Munster. The Christmas episode of Killinascully receives viewership figures that place it in the top 3 most viewed programs in Ireland, on an annual basis.