The food people ate in the past in Ireland has always been closely interwoven with other aspects of our history, particularly so because for a signigicant chunk of our history we were under foreign power.
The effects of this could be benign – the introduction of new foods for example – but also disastrous, as was the case when famine struck in the mid 1800′s.Read More
In early Ireland everyone ate more or less the same food, initially whatever they could hunt or forage, later grains and other farmed crops.
As the centuries passed an increasing divide appeared between the diets of the rich and poor, especially when the Norman and English occupiers began exporting foods on which the poorer Irish had depended. Survival became a real struggle for those at the bottom of the pile.Read More
When the potato arrived in Ireland it seemed like a godsend, easily grown and nutritious enough to sustain whole families on little else. The Irish climate suited it well and before long it was the staple food of almost the entire population.
A better fed Irish population began to grow rapidly, increasing from less than 1 million in 1580 to over 8 million by 1840.Read More
With a growing population locked in poverty and almost entirely dependent on the potato for sustenance, Ireland was by the mid 19th century something of a disaster waiting to happen.
Nobody however could have predicted the extent of the catastrophic famine that hit the people of Ireland when the potato crop repeatedly failed. It would change Ireland for centuries.Read More
Recovery from the famine was slow, and it was 100 years before the Irish began to take an interest in food other than for sustenance.
In the last 30 years there has been a transformation, with a growing appreciation by a new generation of chefs for Ireland’s fresh high quality ingredients and the emergence of artisan food producers.Read More