Although not open to the public, Myrtle Grove is significant for the humble spud – it was here that Sir Walter Raleigh planted the first potatoes in Ireland. He brought them from Virginia to Ireland in 1585. Sir Raleigh was the Mayor of Youghal in 1588 and 1599 and is credited with also smoking the first tobacco in Ireland. A hapless servant quickly doused the Mayor in water, believing him to be on fire!
His friend, the poet Sir Edmund Spenser, wrote the longest poem in the English language, Fairie Queen within the gardens of Myrtle Grove and is reputed to have also worked on the epic poem to Queen Elizabeth from the south gable of Myrtle Grove.
Myrtle Grove was built around the 1580’s and was originally the residence of the Warden of the College of Youghal. It is an unfortified, late medieval Tudor style stone house. Although modified over the course of the later 300 years, it retains much of its original features.