The Irish Famine of 1845-52 was the greatest catastrophe in recorded Irish history. It was caused by the repeated failure of the potato crop, the main food source of the poorer classes. The failure resulted in hunger, starvation, and ultimately death or emigration for a quarter of the population – one million died and over a million emigrated. The emigrants formed the main basis for the Irish diaspora in Britain, the United States, Canada, and Australia.
This source-book documents the course of the calamity by means of contemporary newspaper reports, workhouse records, maps, statistics, and engravings. The texts reveal the attitudes and prejudices of Prime Ministers, administrators and landlords; the first-hand experiences of those involved in relief efforts; and the trauma and tribulations of the victims.
The documents are set in context and a running story-line guides the reader as the tragedy unfolds.
Noel Kissane is the National Library’s education Officer and holds a doctorate in medieval studies from the National University of Ireland. His previous publications include The Irish Face (1987), and Parnell-A Documentary History (1991). He has also compiled the National Library series of folders of historical documents for use in schools, and had edited the award-winning Treasures from the National Library of Ireland (1994).
8.25 x 11, 192 pages, 121 black and white illustrations, 6 maps