All about the Irish Famine

1845 was the start of the Potato famine in the southern and western areas of Ireland. It is not difficult to understand the reasons for famine in the past centuries was poor technology and static economic systems that hampered human beings from getting access to food. The potato crop became very scarce to the point where individuals were starving because a lot of people were so dependent on the potato for their meals. One of the causes of famine was an imbalance of population with respect to food supply (and could thus be solved by population control methods). Famine could also come from the problem of food distribution and Irish poverty. And while food shortages can certainly cause famines, it does not follow that all famines must necessarily be caused by food shortages. Famine implies that some people do not have adequate access to food, it does not imply that food itself is in short supply. Another known cause of this decrease in the potato crop and the famine was because of the disease called blight. The mould fungus that grew on the undersurface of blighted potato leaves consisted of multitudes of extremely fine, branching filaments, at the tips of which were spores. When mature, these spores broke away and, wafted by the air, settled on other plants, restarting the process of destruction. An important component of the famine history, however, are the structural features of Irish society that made the potato crop failure so devastating:  structural poverty and limited economic opportunity, over-dependence on the potato, limited state intervention, and legal/political processes that encouraged landlords to move starving farmers off the land. Without the potato crop, peasants were unable to pay their rent, and were evicted by their landlords. Although people were starving because they had been so dependent on the potato crop for food, most people who died during the famine died of diseases like typhus and cholera, brought on by their starvation and poor living conditions. In the face of difficulties due to the famine, many Irish people chose to emigrate from Ireland. They went anywhere to the United States to Canada. Irish individuals found better living conditions for themselves and for their families and were able to get new jobs that would assist them on getting back on their feet, from the horrendous amount of poverty that they had during the famine. The population due to the famine had decreased significantly, due to the fact that people were emigrating from the country and people who had suffered from starvation and disease. Irish individuals could not last long in Ireland during the famine because they were so dependent on the potato crop, that when they no longer had it in their availability, they had nothing else to fall back on. 

Resulting in the Irish potato famine, many individuals had made life of the hardships that had occurred during the 19th century. CLICK HERE to learn about commemorations and memorials that have been built for remembrance. 

If you would like to learn more about the blight disease and how it effected the lives of the Irish people then CLICK HERE now!

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