In the late-16th century, William Camden (borrowing a little from the earlier writings of Mila in the 1st century and Giraldus in the 12th century) described Ireland in the following terms:

William Camden, Britannia (ed. R. Gough, 1789, Vol. 3, p.464).

Camden's work was first published in 1586. A few year later, the poet, Edmund Spenser (a planter in Ireland from 1580 to 1598) also testified to the fruitfulness of the land in Ireland. In language designed to attract further English and Scots settlers, he described the country as

(Edmund Spenser, View of the Present State of Ireland, written in 1596 and published posthumously.)

Despite what Mela said about corn, the evidence points to corn being widely grown in Ireland in the Middle Ages and all through the 16th Century. It was, however, vulnerable to the ravages of war. Both English and Irish soldiers burned crops to prevent the other side from living off the land and many of the native Irish took to sowing their corn "in the skirt of woods and within bogs, where strangers could not get at it" (Calendar of State Papers relating to Ireland, 1601-03, p.374). Particularly in the territory of O'Neill in Armagh (which includes Mullaghbrack), the native Irish relied not on crops during the Tudor Wars but on cattle herds (or "creaghts") to supply an army continually on the move fighting a guerilla campaign.

Spenser portrait. Cattle resting.