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.
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.
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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