W.P. O'Brien, The Great Famine in Ireland and a Retrospect of the fifty years 1845-1895


Cat No.:   IE0351:

with a sketch of the present condition and future prospects of the Congested Districts, 1896

Written by W. P. O'Brien, and published in 1896, The Great Famine in Ireland is the observations of a civil servant of the causes and events of the famine in Ireland, as well as changes in the subsequent 50 years and recommendations as to how the Congested Districts could be improved. It is the unique insight and interpretations of a government official in Ireland.

O'Brien begins by setting the scene in Ireland on the eve of the Famine in 1845, describing the political situation, the agricultural system as it existed, how the poor law system had been introduced in Ireland as well as the numerous previous potato crop failures. Following on from this he deals with the outbreak of the disease in the crop in Ireland, its symptoms and effects, the extent of the failure of the crop in 1845 and the total failure in 1846. Covered next is the steps taken by the government for the purposes of relief in 1846 and 1847, including the Board of Works. The major part of this relief was the work of the Poor Law Commission and the extension of the workhouse system. There is also mention of work carried out by private sources such as the Society of Friends and the British Relief Association, as well as by private individuals like Mr. J. H. Tuke.

The final part of the publication is made up with Ireland after the famine, the improvements made, the success of the emigration schemes promoted by Mr. Tuke, and dealing with further potato crop failures. Another feature of this section is how the Congested Districts Boards can be modified to deal with future emergencies.

This publication is a unique and insightful view of the Great Famine which not only provides details on the distress and official responses to the problem but also tracks the changes which occurred in Ireland because of the famine. 

No. of CDs is:  1 ;   Format is:  PDF ;   Searchable?:  YES;

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