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.*