The Irish Ancestral Diet

irish ancestral diet

Before the potato became a staple crop in Ireland, people consumed oats and wheat as their primary grains. Porridge was the most common food containing these grains.

Milk was also a huge part of the Irish diet. It was a source of protein and fat. It was also a favourite drink.


In the Irish ancestral diet meat was usually a part of many meals. Beef, lamb, pork and chicken were all common sources of meat in Ireland.

The diet of the poor was largely based on simple foods such as potatoes, vegetables and milk. This helped to keep people healthy despite their poverty.

A new study, funded by the European Research Council, has found that a peasant-style diet kept rural people in mid-Victorian Ireland healthier than their urban counterparts. They ate a lot of potatoes, milk and fish.


The irish ancestral diet is rich in vegetables, especially potatoes. They are an important part of a healthy diet, reducing cholesterol, boosting the immune system and aiding weight loss.

They also contain vitamins and minerals that support the health of our blood vessels, bones and arteries. In addition to potatoes, the Irish ate a variety of cabbages and carrots.

Vegetables were not only a vital component of the Irish diet, they are often found in pub foods, such as bangers and mash, which is traditionally made with pork sausages, mashed potatoes and onion gravy.


The irish ancestral diet revolved heavily around dairy products, meat and a hearty portion of grains. Fruits were a bit underrepresented in the diet but remained important and often served as an after-meal dessert.

One of the most popular alcoholic beverages in medieval Ireland was metheglin, a honey-flavored mead. Other kinds of alcohol, such as spiced wine made from fermented corn, were also enjoyed.

The potato was an integral part of the irish diet during this time, especially among the poorer classes who grew potatoes on their own small patches of land called conacres. This crop was easy to grow, stored easily and gave the poorer classes a good source of essential vitamins.


Fish was a staple food in the Irish diet. It was plentiful in coastal communities and flavored soups, stews and other dishes.

Deer, wild boar and pig were other options for meat consumption. Meat was often spit roasted, boiled or mixed into a stew.

Grains were also a staple in the medieval diet. Grain based foods like oats, wheat and barley were cooked either as porridge or as bread.


The Irish are known for their love of eggs, and the country has a number of dishes that incorporate them. These include Colcannon, a comforting mash of potatoes and cabbage or kale with butter (or cream), and Champ, another mashed potato favourite flavoured with spring onions.

Eggs were a staple food for the poor in Ireland before the potato was introduced, and are still a major part of the diet today. The Irish consume about three to four eggs a week on average, compared to the European average of two to four eggs.


Juniper is not a common ingredient in modern-day Irish cuisine but its bluish-black berry has long been used to flavor beef, lamb and pork dishes. It’s also a great way to keep pests at bay, especially when burned at Samhain.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Irish used to have a very large and varied selection of horticultural fungi. They also had a well-rounded food pyramid consisting of grains, vegetables and meat. It was a bit of a challenge to come up with the perfect formula and they were able to devise some interesting combinations. Among the most interesting of these is an oaten meal called sowans or sowens.