Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Requiem for 1847: remembering the famine

From the RootsWorld archives, some words to remember for St Patrick's Day.

1997 marked the 150th anniversary of the worst year of the Great Irish Potato Famine. 1847 was the nadir of a natural calamity that could have easily been reversed. Instead, it was crafted via human agency into a holocaust. Descendants of the victims world-wide still refer to it as "Black '47" Farm By the middle of the 19th century, the potato was the Irish peasantry's major source of sustenance. It adapted well to growing conditions in Ireland and produced large yields from small plots. Eaten with buttermilk for protein, it was a nutritious complex carbohydrate rich in vitamins and minerals. However, an entire race's hand-to-mouth dependence on a single foodstuff was a precarious thing and presaged disaster... In Christina Roden's article from 1997, she talks about the Irish famine of the 1840's with The Chieftains' Paddy Moloney, Black 47's Larry Kirwan, and composer Patrick Cassidy.

Read the article

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