Irish People Forced to Leave Their Villages

Irish People Forced to Leave Their Villages World History Tragedies and Triumphs Civil Rights Famous Historical Events Social Studies Visual Arts

Even after the potato blight was no-longer ruining the crops of Ireland's tenant farmers, villagers could not cope with the ongoing impact of their economic distress.

A reporter and artist, working for The Illustrated London News, witnessed an entire village of people who were leaving their homeland.  The story and sketch (shown above) is in the ILN’s May 10, 1851 issue. The following is an excerpt from the article:

...I came to a sharp turn in the road, in view of that for which we sought, and of which I send you a sketch, namely, the packing and making ready of, I may say, an entire village—for there were not more than half-a-dozen houses on the spot, and all their former inmates were preparing to leave.

Immediately that my rev. friend was recognised, the people gathered about him in the most affectionate manner. He had a word of advice to Pat, a caution to Nelly, a suggestion to Mick; and he made a promise to Dan to take care of the “old woman,” until the five pounds came in the spring to his ‘Reverence’ to send her over to America.

Then ensued a scene of tears and lamentation, such as might have softened a much harder heart than mine or that of the priest. He stood for awhile surrounded by the old and the young, the strong and the infirm, on bended knees, and he turned his moistened eyes towards heaven, and asked the blessing of the Almighty upon the wanderers during their long and weary journey.

Many were the tears brushed quietly away from the sunburnt cheeks of those who there knelt, and had implicit faith that the benediction so fervently and piously asked, would be vouchsafed to them.

It is hard to fathom the depths of despair which these people had to endure, both those who left and those who stayed behind.

Click on the image for a better view.

Media Credits

Illustration, and quoted passage, from the May 10, 1851 issue of The Illustrated London News.


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"Irish People Forced to Leave Their Villages" AwesomeStories.com. Apr 30, 2015. Feb 27, 2020.
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