Search Results for 'Great Famine'
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THE IRISH Famine, the greatest humanitarian disaster in Europe in the 19th century, leaving one million people dead, with another million fleeing the country, is examined in a new exhibition.
THERE IS a popular perception that “The Great Hunger” of 1845 to 1849 was a one-off affair, a unique event, and that there are two totally different Irelands - the one before and the one after The Famine.
The Great Famine of 1845-51 was, the Galway historian Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh tells us*, ‘a subsistence crisis, and a social calamity without parallel in the 19th century. It resulted in more than 1,000,000 dying of starvation and related diseases; and it ‘precipitated a virtual tidal wave of emigration that would see 4,000,000 flee the country during the following 20 years’.
Whatever about the discrimination against the Irish emigrants in both Britain and America as they fled the ravages of the Great Famine in the mid 19th century, the effect of gaining a foothold in the two major English speaking countries of the world, pretty much sounded the death knell for the Irish language.
When Charles Dickens first visited the United States in January 1842, the popularity of his books was such that he was mobbed by adoring crowds, feted and dined as the major celebrity that he undoubtedly was, and was guest of honour at a famous Valentine’s Ball in New York attended by 3,000 of the city’s great and good.
Between the years 1845 and 1855 more than 2.1 million people emigrated from Ireland. They streamed into Liverpool, Manchester, Boston and New York. Many were diseased, hungry, dirty, broken spirited, with barely any personal belongings. Some embarked actually naked.
A new 'Spirit of Place' art installation was officially unveiled in Swinford last Friday.
One of the remedies in dealing with overcrowding, and rebellious behaviour from frustrated and angry women in the workhouses during the famine years, was assisted emigration. This was done on a massive scale. Between 1848 and 1850, 4,175 women were sent direct from the workhouse system to Australia. This was in addition to the thousands already sent away assisted by landlords and other schemes to clear the land of unproductive tenants. The only cost to the individual Poor Law unions was for new clothes, and travel expenses to Plymouth, from where the girls embarked to the colony.
During the seven years of the Great Famine approximately one million people died. A million more emigrated causing Ireland’s population to fall by between 20 and 25 per cent. The initial cause of famine was a potato disease which ravaged potato crops throughout Europe during the 1840s.