The Potato in Ireland

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The pit was full of water. Stones were heated in a fire and then placed in the water to make it hot. Food such as meat could then be cooked in the hot water.


Potatoes are easy to grow. They can grow in good and poor soil. This meant that more and more people started growing potatoes. Soon many families across Ireland were dependant on the potato.

The Great Famine

After some time there was very little food other than potatoes available to the ordinary people of Ireland. This was because poorer people did not grow other types of food. By the 1800s many of the ordinary people in Ireland needed the potato to live.

In 1845 a disease called Potato Blight ruined potato crops all over Ireland. Many people died from hunger because they had no other food to eat. This is known as the Great Irish Famine. It lasted for almost 5 years. Many people had to leave Ireland in search of a better life. They went to places like America and England.

After the Famine the population of Ireland was much smaller. Less people farmed the land. Those who continued farming had larger farms. They grew crops and reared animals.

The people who were farming after the famine tried not to depend on the potato alone for their food. However, there were still some potato failures later on which caused suffering for the poorer farmers.


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