Records show Irish lands exported food even during the worst years of the Famine. When Ireland had experienced a famine in 1782–1783, ports were closed to keep Irish-grown food in Ireland to feed the Irish. Local food prices promptly dropped. Merchants lobbied against the export ban, but government in the 1780s overrode their protests. No such export ban happened in the 1840s.
Throughout the entire period of the Famine, Ireland was exporting enormous quantities of food to England. In Ireland before and after the famine, Cormac O’Grada points out, “Although the potato crop failed, the country was still producing and exporting more than enough grain crops to feed the population. But that was a ‘money crop’ and not a 'food crop and could not be interfered with.” Up to 75 percent of Irish soil was devoted to wheat, oats, barley and other crops that were grown for export and shipped abroad while the people starved.
In History Ireland magazine (1997, issue 5, pp. 32–36), Christine Kinealy, a Great Hunger scholar, lecturer, and Drew University professor, relates her findings: Almost 4,000 vessels carried food from Ireland to the ports of Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool and London during 1847, when 400,000 Irish men, women and children died of starvation and related diseases. She also writes that Irish exports of calves, livestock (except pigs), bacon and ham actually increased during the Famine. This food was shipped under British military guard from the most famine-stricken parts of Ireland; Ballina, Ballyshannon, Bantry, Dingle, Killala, Kilrush, Limerick, Sligo, Tralee and Westport. A wide variety of commodities left Ireland during 1847, including peas, beans, onions, rabbits, salmon, oysters, herring, lard, honey, tongues, animal skins, rags, shoes, soap, glue and seed. The most shocking export figures concern butter. Butter was shipped in firkins, each one holding 9 gallons. In the first nine months of 1847, 56,557 firkins were exported from Ireland to Bristol, and 34,852 firkins were shipped to Liverpool which correlates to 822,681 gallons of butter exported to England from Ireland during nine months of the worst year of the Famine.The poor did not have sufficient money to obtain the food produced and the British government facilitated its exportation 
Cecil Woodham-Smith, an authority on the Irish Famine, wrote in The Great Hunger: Ireland 1845-1849 that no issue has provoked so much anger and embittered relations between England and Ireland as “the indisputable fact that huge quantities of food were exported from Ireland to England throughout the period when the people of Ireland were dying of starvation.” Ireland remained a net exporter of food throughout most of the five-year famine.[fn 4]