The Potato in Ireland

“The potato was not native to Ireland. It had been found by Spanish conquistadors in South America in the 1500s. In 1589, Sir Walter Raleigh, a British explorer and historian known for his expeditions to the Americas, first brought the potato to Ireland and planted them at his Irish estate at Myrtle Grove, Youghal, near Cork, Ireland. For the next 80 years it was grown in small numbers, mainly in Munster, as a garden crop or a supplement. Farmers found that potatoes could grow double the food in the same land. They also realized that if they planted some of their land with potatoes, they would have enough to eat, and still have land to grow oats or engage in dairying. This surplus could then be sold, allowing farmers to make money. By 1750, the potato had acclimatized to the Irish growing conditions and spread into Connaught where the lazy-bed was invented and into Leinster, where it became the main food for farm laborers.” Taken from the book ‘The Truth Behind The Irish Famine’ by Jerry Mulvihill. 72 paintings and 472 eyewitness quotes.

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