School: Ballinakill (B.) (roll number 895)

Location:
Ballinakill, Co. Laois
Teacher:
William Hande

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The Potato Crop

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0831, Page 048

Image and data © National Folklore Collection, UCD. See copyright details »

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Potatoes became the chief food of the Irish people about the year 1700 Potatoes were first grown in Ireland by Sir Walter Raleigh. The soil of Ireland seems to suit the potatoes, for they grow better here than in most other countries. Almost every person in Ireland who has a piece of land grows some potatoes.

When sowing the potatoes the land has first to be dug and then made into drills. Manure is then put between the drills and the seed potatoes are laid on top of the manure at a distance of about a foot apart. They are then covered over and formed into drills, and are left that way until the stalks of the potatoes come over the ground.
When the stalks come up the potatoes are moulded and sprayed. The reason they are sprayed is to keep off the blight. When the blight comes on the potatoes, the leaves rot first and then the stalks, and then the blight spreads to the potatoes and they rot also. It was owing to blight that the potato crop failed in the year 1847. The mixture for spraying the potatoes is

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