Irish Potato Famine - The Great Hunger - Preface

Irish Potato Famine - The Great Hunger (Illustration) Civil Rights Famous Historical Events Geography Social Studies STEM Victorian Age World History Nineteenth Century Life Law and Politics Disasters

This sign, along a road in Belfast (Northern Ireland), reminds viewers of the Irish Potato Famine, which the Irish people refer to as An Gorta Mór ("The Great Hunger").  Image, by Miossec, online via Wikimedia Commons.  License: CC BY-SA 3.0


What, in the name of Heaven,
is to become of us? What are
we to do? The country is gone!

The Times 
May 23, 1849

The country wasn’t gone but many people were. They had either died or fled when the effects of the "Great Potato Famine" dragged on for five years.

The wounds still run deep.  The Irish people say there wasn’t a famine in Ireland ... there was The Great Hunger. Famines result when all crops fail. Only the potato crop had "the blight."

During the blight, other crops were still produced in abundance on the Emerald Isle. It’s just that much of the food (too expensive for penniless people to buy) was shipped elsewhere.

The Irish-grown food was shipped elsewhere because British laws, imposed on Ireland, required it.  Those requirements led to a famine of catastrophic proportions.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jan 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Nov 09, 2016

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