Were potatoes native to Ireland?
Sir Walter Raleigh introduced potatoes to Ireland in 1589 on the 40,000 acres of land near Cork. It took almost four decades for the potato to spread to the rest of Europe. Eventually, farmers in Europe found that potatoes were easier to grow and cultivate than other staple crops, such as wheat and oats.
Did the potato come from Ireland or South America?
The potato first appeared in Europe around 1570, when it was brought from South America by the Spanish. Traditional wisdom says that Sir Walter Raleigh introduced the crop to Ireland around 1585. As a staple diet for the native population, it proved ideal.
Why were potatoes so important to Ireland? The potato plant was hardy, nutritious, calorie dense and easy to grow in Irish soil. At the time of the famine, nearly half of Ireland's population depended almost exclusively on potatoes for their diet, and the other half ate potatoes frequently.
Are potatoes an Irish thing?
The potato is widely believed to have been introduced to Ireland in 1586 by an American, Sir Walter Raleigh. Raleigh's potato was a sweet potato and some people believe that the potato as we know it was first introduced to Ireland in 1590 when it was first planted by a shipwrecked Spanish sailor.
What was the worst year of the Irish Famine?
The worst year of the period was 1847, known as "Black '47". During the Great Famine, about 1 million people died and more than a million fled the country, causing the country's population to decline by 20%–25%, in some cities falling as much as 67% between 1841 and 1851.
Where did the first potatoes come from in Ireland?
So who brought the potato to Ireland and when? It has been argued that the first potatoes brought to Europe came from Chile (subspecies tuberosum) because they had been adapted to form tubers in the long summer days of southern temperate latitudes and would feel at home in Europe where the day length was similar.
Where did the Spanish find potatoes in the New World?
Although wild potatoes are found as far north as Nebraska in North America, no species were cultivated outside of South America at the time the Spanish arrived in the New World.
Sir Walter Ralegh, Sir Francis Drake and John Hawkins have all been credited with introducing the potato to Europe. In fact, the early history of the potato is clouded by often conflicting stories, many of which can be relegated to the realm of romance.
Where did the potatoes come from in Merry Wives of Windsor?
The 'venerable roots', imported from Spain, were a popular feature of many English banquets in the sixteenth century. In Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, when Sir John Falstaff, thinking he is about to bed two women, shouts 'Let the sky rain potatoes', he is more than likely referring to sweet potatoes.