The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine

We used to live about eight miles from Ennis and I have seen the famine grave there. All over Ireland there are mass graves from those terrible years. This review of the book ‘The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine’ sums it up well.

Get Behind the Muse

In 1841 — pre-Famine — Ennis had circa 9,300 inhabitants. Ten years (and untold suffering) later, in spite of the influx of thousands of refugees from the surrounding countryside, the town’s population was 7,841: a 16% decline. In Ennis’ hinterland there was a 30-40% decrease in population between 1841 and 1851, with a 45-65% reduction in the number of children under five. Some black spots lost over 50% of their inhabitants.

The Famine mass grave in Drumcliff graveyard, outside Ennis. The Famine mass grave in Drumcliff graveyard, outside Ennis.

My mother remembers her grandmother telling her that “there was no Famine in Ennis” (Famine denial was common in the decades preceding the catastrophe). Having recently finished The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine (Cork University Press, 2012; eds. John Crowley, William J. Smyth and Mike Murphy) I would respectfully beg to differ with my great-grandmother. My home town of Ennis in common with a huge swathe of Ireland, west…

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About Jean Reinhardt

Author of 'A Pocket Full of Shells' an Amazon International best seller, Jean writes young adult and historical fiction. She has been known to shed a tear over Little House on the Prairie.
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3 Responses to The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine

  1. KKTG says:

    Such a tragedy – not something for the faint-hearted. I just read about the 796 bodies of infants & children (the HomeBabies) discovered in Tuam, Country Galway. It happened so long ago and yet I can’t help but grieve for their sufferings.


    • Sad to say, that discovery is probably just the tip of the iceberg, I think there will be a lot more to come. I feel sickened when I think that as I was running around in the seventies as a carefree teenager there were women still in those places, having become institutionalized over the decades, who never had the chance to live their own lives. It’s heartbreaking.


  2. SalvaVenia says:

    What a tragedy …


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