Why Do Irish Eat So Many Potatoes?

why do irish eat so many potatoes

In the United States, potatoes are a staple food. They’re mashed, fried, and baked in a million ways.

It’s not clear how spuds came to Ireland, but they were an important food source here before the potato blight. It’s likely that they were brought to Europe by ships sailing across the Atlantic.


Potatoes are a staple crop throughout Ireland, and are an essential part of traditional Irish dishes. Despite being a starch, potatoes are also very nutritious. In fact, they’re a source of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

Before the arrival of the potato in Ireland, the country was largely dependent on dairy, including curds and milk. This was so important that there’s a catch-all term for them, banbidh, which means “white foods.”

The Irish diet remained heavily based on dairy as the potato arrived, but by the 18th century, around half the population had come to depend almost exclusively on the potato for their diet.

However, in 1845 a blight called Phytophthora infestans decimated the potato crop and sparked the potato famine. This blight thrived in wet, cool weather, and spread quickly throughout the country. The famine eventually killed a million people in Ireland.


If you think of Ireland, you probably think of potatoes. From Colcannon to Irish stew and shepherd’s pie, they’re a staple in the Irish diet.

While many people assume potatoes are bad for you, they’re actually low in fat and calories and packed with vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. They’re also high in fibre, B vitamins, copper and even manganese.

When they’re boiled or baked, potatoes are a healthy addition to any meal. They’re also a good source of fibre and protein, which helps to keep you full and satisfied.

They’re a source of several essential vitamins and minerals, including zinc, potassium and folate, and are an excellent source of B6, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease.

However, it’s important to note that while potatoes are nutritious, they can also cause digestive problems and increase the risk of chronic health conditions such as diabetes and obesity. For this reason, it’s important to choose organic varieties whenever possible.


Potatoes are the most common root vegetable in Irish food, and are used to make a variety of dishes. They can be made into mashed potatoes, a dish called Colcannon (potatoes, cabbage and spring onions in milk), Champ, and many more.

Some of these dishes are simple and easy to prepare, while others are a bit more complex. These are the perfect dishes to try if you’re looking for something that will satisfy your appetite and connect you with your Irish roots.

Boxty is a traditional Irish potato cake that can be baked, boiled or fried. It’s made with grated potatoes, mashed potatoes, flour, baking powder, salt, eggs, and milk.

Black pudding is also another popular traditional irish food that is made with pork meat, fat and blood mixed with barley, suet and oatmeal in a sausage. While it is not as well known as white pudding, no Irish breakfast would be complete without a slice of this delicious treat.


If you have ever visited Ireland, you will have seen people eating potatoes. This is not something that is unusual, however, why do Irish eat so many?

Potatoes were not native to Ireland, but were brought over by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 1500s. They grew well in Irish conditions and were easily stored for winter eating.

Farmers quickly found that they could double the amount of food they produced on an acre of land if they planted it with potatoes. They also learned that they could grow enough potatoes for a year’s consumption and then leave leftovers to feed their animals.

During this period, the potato became an important crop for both the poor and middle class in Ireland. Its nutritional value and low cost of production made it a valuable commodity.