The famine, time to peel away the myth

Seanie Lemass

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Is it about time that we stop going on about how those bloody brits caused so much hardship during the potato famine of the 1840's?
Afterall it was irish landowners who turfed the poor peasants of the land and directly profited from their misfortune.

I am sick and tired of us Brits getting smashed round the head over this.

For too long the irish nation has had a chip on their shoulder, they should think of the positives that the famine brought ie emmigration to the new world and a better life.

I dont want to rub in salt into anceient wounds but the myths need to be blown away on this subject.


Listen son. Best thing you can do is maybe get a hold of a Junior Cert history book. Come back to us then sunshine.
 


Monday Monday

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Lads this thread is from 2007.

Cael is long gone to the great workers paradise in the sky.

Him and Uncle Joe are sipping a nice vodka before taking a dip in a swimming pool full of Kulaks blood.
 

RahenyFG

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Is it about time that we stop going on about how those bloody brits caused so much hardship during the potato famine of the 1840's?
Afterall it was irish landowners who turfed the poor peasants of the land and directly profited from their misfortune.

I am sick and tired of us Brits getting smashed round the head over this.

For too long the irish nation has had a chip on their shoulder, they should think of the positives that the famine brought ie emmigration to the new world and a better life.

I dont want to rub in salt into anceient wounds but the myths need to be blown away on this subject.
They did take whatever was good food stock and bring it back to Britain whilst working the Irish to their deaths to do this. And who can forget the arrogant attitude of Charles Trevelyan or Colonel Jones for that matter, this quote from the poem The Famine Road by Eavan Boland displays Jones' wickedness

It has gone better than we expected, Lord
Trevelyan, sedition, idleness, cured
in one. From parish to parish, field to field;
the wretches work till they are quite worn,
then fester by their work. We march the corn
to the ships in peace. This Tuesday I saw bones
out of my carriage window. Your servant Jones.
 

Heligoland

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I think Comrade Cael was confusing Edmund Spenser writing in A View of the State of Ireland, 1596, with Arthur Chichester, who was viceroy a few years later.

Chichester wrote (of the Irish people):
"I have often said and written that it is famine that must consume them; our swords and other endeavours work not that speedy effect which is expected."

The Plantation of Ulster
 

Campion

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The big killer during the years of the Famine was not so much outright starvation but death from 'famine fever' as people succumbed to Typhus and other infections that a healthy body could resist.

Some areas did expereince outright starvation but it was a huge increase in the general level of malnutrition that allowed for diseases to sweep through the population and kill around a million people.

Ethnic Cleansing by Stealth IMO! :x
 

Se0samh

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I think Comrade Cael was confusing Edmund Spenser writing in A View of the State of Ireland, 1596, with Arthur Chichester, who was viceroy a few years later.

Chichester wrote (of the Irish people):
"I have often said and written that it is famine that must consume them; our swords and other endeavours work not that speedy effect which is expected."

The Plantation of Ulster
Spenser in the pamphlet, A View Of The Present State Of Ireland, proposed that the English subjugation of Ireland, would not be complete until the indigenous language, customs and laws had been destroyed, by violence if necessary.
Such violence would, of course have been by the sword and while the attribution may have been in error the intent is clear.
 

PleaseDaddyNo

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Everyone knows the brits did nothing to stop the famine when it got started because they believed in capitalism extreme
 

sauntersplash

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I think the more interesting question is why are Irish people still talking about the famine? Every country has had famine's at one stage or another. I find our constant insistance on tragedy to be inappropriate at this point in history.

That, and why didn't the people just eat fish, they lived on an island.
 

MauriceColgan

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I think the more interesting question is why are Irish people still talking about the famine? Every country has had famine's at one stage or another. I find our constant insistance on tragedy to be inappropriate at this point in history.

That, and why didn't the people just eat fish, they lived on an island.
The enormous tragedy has hardly been addressed at all!

I once stood on Teelin and other piers for hours and hours and never caught a fish. :) Try it in the cold!
 

sauntersplash

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The enormous tragedy has hardly been addressed at all!

I once stood on Teelin and other piers for hours and hours and never caught a fish. :) Try it in the cold!
Why is there any need to address it? The context that would lend it meaning is irrelevent. Addressing it is no more useful than constantly insisting on talking about a dead relative that you never met.

Better than lying in a ditch for hours and hours in the cold, starving to death and blaming England.
 
L

Little Room

BelfastSpark

Relief during the Famine was administered by Quakers ,Methodists etc many dying of cholera-desease themeselves.

A bit off topic but -
Does anyone know if during the famine, some or all the Methodists involved in relief work acted like the Quakers did? Or were some or all of them soupers?
 

MauriceColgan

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Why is there any need to address it? The context that would lend it meaning is irrelevent. Addressing it is no more useful than constantly insisting on talking about a dead relative that you never met.

Better than lying in a ditch for hours and hours in the cold, starving to death and blaming England.
Yes there is a huge need to address it. It was a huge tragedy for this country almost swept under the carpet! But not any longer. England is well able to talk endlessly about how great it's history was, and it does. We should be silent?

Try catching this fish on your rusty hook.:)
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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My first reaction: oh, no! Not again!

Let's be honest: is there much new to be said about the Famine? Even the revisionists seem to be repeating themselves.

And yet (while confessing I'm not treating this one with extreme seriousness) ...

In wider terms, we ought to be able to project the notion wider. The Famine was one — just one — of the events that made us (and that's not exclusively in the Irish context) what we are.

Let's involve the law of unintended consequences.

Somehow, somewhat irrelevantly and irreverently, there leaps to my mind a tin of golden syrup — "out of the strong came forth sweetness". OK! OK! Judges, xiv,14! But consider the whole story of Samson and his return journey in search of a wife. And let's not hesitate to recall that (at least my) glutinous childhood treat derived, generations back, from slavery and the Middle Passage.



What were the greatest social changes in our history? Conquests, plagues and famines, industrialisation and World Wars. Of which the Famine was only one of the more disruptive — not forgetting the Scottish Highlands (1.7 million emigrants— pro rata more than Ireland?) and much of western Europe, too. I'd posit that the Famine was more of a game-changer in US and GB history than nearer home. So, to be simplistic:
  • What destroyed the Norman feudal system (which was not far distant from a slave-society)? The Black Death, and the monetarising of labour.
  • What changed Irish agronomy and the landlord system? Well, rural activism, but also labour shortages, job opportunities in the towns, plus mechanisation.
  • What changed the position of women in our society? Two world wars, which proved their self-reliance and (above all) economic benefit.
  • What diminished ultramontane Irish Catholic theocracy? Err … Ryanair and bare boobs on the Costas, perhaps?
Even the Irish Diaspora was not, of itself, the consequence of the Famine. Consider the graphic that is (I assume still is) displayed at Cobh. Do the math in your head and the increase in emigration in the 1840s is a natural geometric increase from earlier decades. What had changed wasn't just the 'push' factor, but 'pull' as well (familiarity with the process; previous emigrants sending home remittances to facilitate later transits; improvements in shipping which meant crossings were possible all-year-round and became cheaper).
 

Roberto Jordan

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I think the more interesting question is why are Irish people still talking about the famine? Every country has had famine's at one stage or another. I find our constant insistance on tragedy to be inappropriate at this point in history.

That, and why didn't the people just eat fish, they lived on an island.
There has actually been relatively little consideration of it when one grasps the impact it had on our entire society both in terms of structure and mindset.

Proportionally the percentage impact from death and emigration was massive and far greater than most of the major modern famines in Africa, for example. Add in the fact that we were,and in large part continue to be ( when compared to western Europe) , a very settled rural society with all the attendant ability to retain generational memory them it is no suprise that it echoes down the years.

There is ample evidence that religious, cultural and political outlooks and practises were massively shifted by it directly and indirectly by the sequence of events it set in train. Relatuvely speaking it had as much or greater impact on us as the enlightenment, industrial revolution and urbanisation combined had elsewhere.

The point is not necessarily in the details of the horror on victims but the impact on survivors.
 


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