During the 1500s, Ireland was torn apart by constant warfare between the country’s English rulers and the Irish inhabitants, and between local nobles who were always fighting one another.
As a result of this continual conflict, Ireland’s peasant farmers had a hard time growing enough food to feed themselves, let alone anyone else. It was into this starving, war-torn Ireland that the potato was introduced around the year 1600.
However it arrived, one thing can be said for certain – the potato caught on very quickly in Ireland, the potato was so important in Ireland that some of the poorer parts of the country relied entirely on the potato for food. Because the potato was so abundant and could feed so many people, it allowed the population of Ireland to grow very quickly.
In 1844 a strange disease was reported to have attacked the potato crop in Canada. By September of 1845, it had made its appearance in Ireland. The disease attacked the potatoes as they grew in the fields and up to half of the crop was destroyed. Many of the potatoes were found to have gone black and rotten and their leaves had withered.