Thursday Doors – Belturbet and Some History


Even when the house is warm, if it’s cold outside The Gaffer likes to wrap himself up in his bed – until I suggest we go for a walk around town in search of Thursday Doors.


“What was that you said? A walk?” He loves his walks and we’re convinced he can now spell the word because even when we say the letter ‘W’ he will run to the door excitedly. Sorry for the blurred image but he moved so fast I barely got the shot.


This is the door I had in mind, a green one. The white-washed walls look to be quite old or maybe they were built to appear that way but I found houses there on the ordinance survey map of 1840. You are looking at the rear of a house that’s been renovated and I have a feeling there was an old cottage there originally and this is what’s left of it. It’s facing the river and has a lovely view from the garden. Can you make out the word ‘famine’ on the bottom right-hand corner of the photo? It’s written on a large black pot.


I wonder if that pot was found in this particular garden and if the little cottage has any connection to it.

A more apt name of what many call the Irish Famine or Potato Famine is An Gorta Mór (The Great Hunger) because there was an abundance of food at the time when blight struck the staple diet of the majority of Irish people – the potato. However, most of the food was exported and any cereal the starving tenants grew had to be used to pay their rents or they would be evicted. During the second year of The Great Hunger, in the winter of 1846, the Quakers provided 294 big cauldrons, which would later become known as famine pots, to set up the first soup kitchens. The British government followed the Quaker example in setting up soup kitchens and supplied 600 pots. Even the Sultan of Turkey donated some pots.  In Dublin city a high-profile French chef, Alex Soyer, set up a model soup kitchen where his recipes were supposed to provide sufficient nutritional value for those in dire need.*

These pots are sad but necessary reminders of very dark days in Ireland’s history. They also bring to mind that even with our modern era of food production and all of its technological advances, we still have millions of people starving in our world today. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that about 815 million people of the 7.6 billion in the world, or 10.7%, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2016.

To finish on a happier note, here’s a photo of The Gaffer ignoring the very friendly geese down by the river. Next time we go, I’ll bring them some lettuce.


If you’d like to see a great selection of Thursday Doors from around the world, have a look at Norm’s blog, there’s a blue ‘frog’ button at the end of his post that will lead you there. Thanks so much for stopping by.

This link will bring you to a very interesting quick read about Famine Pots.*




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.
This entry was posted in History, Ireland, nature, social issues, Thursday Doors, victorian ireland and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Thursday Doors – Belturbet and Some History

  1. Dan Antion says:

    Isn’t it amazing how they learn to spell? We are beyond words, beyond letters and almost beyond “that thing she wants to do” as that will now get her to cock her head and give us that look. That house has a lot of angles.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Junieper/Jesh stG says:

    Yes, I can see that the part with the green door is probably older than the rest of this house. Looked up your link of the famine pots. A food famine is gut wrenching:(
    Learned another part of Ireland’s history, and the Quakers Didn’t know that they were in Ireland, since I knew it as predominantly Catholic – but what outsiders know as a countries’ history may be a skewed view! Now I’m curious why the Turkish sultan was so invested on helping, even secretly, in helping Ireland!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The sultan also sent five ships filled with food and goods to be distributed to the poor and they were refused docking at Dublin port so they sailed on to Drogheda and the cargo was disembarked there. There’s a plaque commemorating it in the town.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Junieper/Jesh stG says:

        Wow, it sounds like the plot of a book or movie – what an incredible generosity:)

        Liked by 1 person

        • James Joyce referred to the sultan’s generosity in Ulysses. So you are spot on with your comment, Jesh. Also, there’s been a movie planned about this for the past few years, a fictional love story of an Irish girl and one of the Turkish sailors. Was supposed to be released in 2017 but no news of late about it. I’ll let you know if it ever comes out.


  3. JT Twissel says:

    Fascinating! It’s always good to remember that we take our food supply for granted. Tomorrow is guaranteed to no one.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Norm 2.0 says:

    Wonderful thought-provoking post Jean. One of the most disheartening stats from those UN food reports is when you start looking at the percentage of food that ends up being wasted. And we Canadians are among the most wasteful in the world 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s true, so much is wasted every day, here in Ireland, too. We have refuse collectors who call specifically to take away leftovers, spoiled food and peelings for recycling. At least it’s put to some use, I suppose, but they would go out of business in less affluent countries.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. sjhigbee says:

    Another wonderful, informative post, Jean. Thank you for the background to the Famine Pots – I did know a lot about the Potato Famine, aggravated by the dreadful attitude of the English Parliament of the time… Gaffar looks great fun – I’m impressed by his indifference to the geese:)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: Thursday Doors | homethoughtsfromabroad626

  7. Jackie says:

    We had a cat that would bury himself in blankets, towels, whatever he could find.
    The story of famine pots is new to me. Toronto took in many of the famine immigrants. A sad piece of history. Even though I was born in Dublin there were never any stories of the famine passed down from my grand or great-grandparents and I always thought that was odd.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Those generations wanted to forget, Jackie, and who could blame them. My mother knew her great grandmother well as she lived to be 102 (Mum was twelve when she died) and she was a child in the Great Hunger but never spoke about it or what the family went through.


  8. Wow, really interesting post! I wonder how many of those pots still exist?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. amoralegria says:

    Interesting information on famine pots!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Sunday Post – 27th January, 2019 #Brainfluffbookblog #SundayPost | Brainfluff

  11. joey says:

    Well I never tire of photos of the Gaffer 🙂 What a good boy!
    It was a sad middle, but it’s good to educate and inform and we appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. slfinnell says:

    Sounds like those pots are becoming collectible after reading your link. Good to preserve the past in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A very interesting and informative post. It is good to be reminded there remain many who don’t have enough to eat, a truly sad situation. The Gaffer is adorable, and quite smart too!

    Liked by 1 person

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