Print this page The Irish catastrophe The Great Famine in Ireland began as a natural catastrophe of extraordinary magnitude, but its effects were severely worsened by the actions and inactions of the Whig government, headed by Lord John Russell in the crucial years from to
The History Learning Site, 25 Mar Famine had been common in Nineteenth Century Ireland and almost an occupational hazard of rural life in Ireland.
But the Great Famine of eclipsed all others. This was because a large family was an insurance of continued sustenance in later life — children would take care of their parents. However, this also meant that large families needed large amounts of food and the land situation in Ireland was not geared to support families in this respect.
Potatoes were the staple diet of the rural population of Ireland. Even if a cure had existed, the people on the land would not have been able to afford it. Ina new form of potato blight was identified in America.
It basically turned a potato into a mushy mess that was completely inedible. The American blight was first identified in France and the Isle of Wight in The summer of was mild but very wet in Britain.
It was almost the perfect weather conditions for the blight to spread. The people of Ireland expected a good potato crop in The weather had appeared to be favourable and in many senses, the farming community of Ireland expected a bumper harvest. However, when it came to digging up the potatoes, all they got was a black gooey mess.
In fact, the expected bumper crop turned out to be a disaster. The rural community had no way of countering this. Each family grew what they needed for that year and few had any to keep for times of trouble.
In fact, the problem got worse. The crop of was all but a total failure and there was a very poor harvest in Three disastrous years in succession presented Ireland with huge problems.
The advice given to those affected by the potato blight bordered on the absurd. One scientist advised people to get hold of chloric acid and manganese dioxide. This mixture should have been been added to salt and applied to the diseased area of the potato.
Even if the farmers had the opportunity to obtain such chemicals, they would have produced chlorine gas used to poison troops in World War One! The government in London initially decided to do nothing. The logic behind such a decision was that Ireland had suffered from potato famines before and would have the necessary knowledge on how best to get by in this case.
Peel believed that if this corn was released onto the Irish market in stages, it would keep down the price of other foods.
This actually worked reasonably well but it also showed the lack of knowledge that existed in London with regards to Ireland.
While Peel was at least doing something to help, he also had little knowledge of the country he was trying to help. The corn was welcomed as better than nothing.
However, there were very few mills of any sort in Ireland, so simply grinding it down into flour was very difficult. Many people in Ireland became seriously ill by attempting to eat the corn without it having been ground down.
The government also tried to help by establishing public work schemes and road building projects in an effort to create employment so that some families got some money. The government also established emergency fever hospitals in Ireland to care for those who could not afford any medical treatment.
However, two issues hampered any work done by the government: Free Trade meant the survival of the fittest. The whole issue was not helped by the majority of landlords in Ireland who showed no sympathy for those who worked their land. This fitted in with the free trade approach of the time.
Those who produced these vital products simply got a better price for them than in Ireland. Driven on by free trade, foodstuffs left Ireland — despite the fact that it was desperately needed in Ireland itself.
Any initiatives in London were also hindered or simply blocked by the chief civil servant to the Treasury — Trevelyan.The Great Famine, the Great Hunger; the Irish Potato Famine;an Drochshaol, [ənˠ ˈdˠɾɔxˌhiːlˠ], the Bad Life) was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration in Ireland between and during which the island's population dropped by 20 to 25 percent.
Aug 21, · Watch video · However, the significance of the Potato Famine (or, in the Irish language, An Gorta Mor) in Irish history, and its contribution to the . Ireland’s Great Famine of is seen by some historians as a turning point in Ireland’s history.
Famine had been common in Nineteenth Century Ireland and almost an occupational hazard of rural life in Ireland. But the Great Famine of . Aug 21, · The Irish Potato Famine, also known as the Great Hunger, began in when a fungus-like organism called Phytophthora infestans (or P.
infestans) spread rapidly throughout Ireland. The infestation ruined up to one-half of the potato crop that year, and about three-quarters of the crop over the next seven years. Ireland’s Great Famine of is seen by some historians as a turning point in Ireland’s timberdesignmag.com had been common in Nineteenth Century Ireland and almost an occupational hazard of rural life in Ireland.
But the Great Famine of eclipsed all others. Because Ireland was so dependent on the potato, one in eight Irish people died of starvation in three years during the Irish potato famine of the s.
Read more about the history of the potato famine at Access Excellence.