The earliest archaeological evidence for farming in Ireland dates to almost 6000 years ago, in the first centuries of the Neolithic period. New crops and animals arrived into Ireland, including Triticum spp. (wheat) and Hordeum spp. (barley), as well as cattle, sheep and pig. At the rear of this section, an Early Neolithic settlement at Town Parks, Co. Meath, is shown, consisting of a substantial rectangular house that was uncovered by archaeologists in advance of construction of the M3 motorway (Illustrator: Dan Tietzsch- Tyler; image courtesy of Transport Infrastructure Ireland). You can find out more about Town Parks by downloading the archaeological excavation report here:


Grains and chaff of Triticum dicoccon Schrank (emmer wheat) have been recorded at many archaeological excavations of Neolithic sites in Ireland. Emmer wheat is closely related to modern bread wheat, but emmer has a slightly different structure because it is a hulled wheat, which means it has strong husks that enclose the grain. Emmer wheat grains can be ground into flour for bread, boiled in porridges and stews, and malted to make ale, providing a taste similar to bread wheat but nuttier.

First Farmers