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The Great Famine

Skibbereen 1847 by Cork artist James Mahony (1810–1879), commissioned by Illustrated London News, 1847The Great Famine was a period in Ireland forcing mass starvation, disease and immigration between the years of 1845 – 1852. In other countries, such as the United States of America, it is more recognized as the Irish Potato Famine. In the Irish language of Gaelic, the Great Famine is called an Gorta Mór, meaning “the Great Hunger”, or it was also called an Drochshaol, meaning “the bad life”.

During The Great Famine, it is estimated that around 1 million people in Ireland died, and a million more immigrated from the island. This caused Ireland’s population to fall, dropping around 20% to 25%. It is seemed that the cause of The Great Famine is something called “potato blight”. Potato Blight is a organism that infects potatoes, and can also sometimes infect tomatoes.

The Great Famine permanently effected the island’s history, demographic, political and cultural landscape.

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