The Famine



The Walking Dead


The Famine in Ireland was one of the most devastating events to hit these shores.  Between 1845 and 1848, thousands upon thousands of people died as a result of the failure of the potato crop.  Many people were forced to take the Coffin Ships to England, America, Canada, and other far flung corners of the world.  The population of Ireland was decimated, and during the period, it fell from over 8 million people to around 4 million.

Like most parts of Ireland, the Rosses did not escape the devastation.  In this book, the author describes the conditions the people were forced to endure.  Many were forced into the local Workhouses, where disease wiped out thousands.  Those who were able to work, clung to life by working on special schemes which earned them a small income to pay for basic necessities.  An example of such a scheme is the Famine Wall built in Maghery during the time, and pictured below.  Others resorted to attacks on ships carrying meal.  The attack on the 'Larne of Belfast' off Arranmore is only one of the stories related in the book.

The Famine Wall at Maghery

The Famine Wall, Maghery 

In this book, the author researched many documents from the time, including minutes from the Boards of Guardians, who were responsible for the Workhouses.  Many letters written at the time are published.  Also detailed are some of the tearful memories as recalled by people who have been passed stories down through the years.

This chapter in The Story of The Rosses may be of significant interest to the thousands of people around the globe, whose ancestors were forced to emigrate, either on the Coffin Ships, or as a result of the poverty which was endemic in the Rosses for decades after.