An introduction to the history of the great hunger in ireland

Executive power lay in the hands of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Chief Secretary for Irelandwho were appointed by the British government. Ireland sent members of parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdomand Irish representative peers elected 28 of their own number to sit for life in the House of Lords. The laws had largely been reformed byand the Roman Catholic Relief Act allowed Irish Catholics to again sit in parliament.

An introduction to the history of the great hunger in ireland

Executive power lay in the hands of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Chief Secretary for Irelandwho were appointed by the British government. Ireland sent members of parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdomand Irish representative peers elected 28 of their own number to sit for life in the House of Lords.

Local food prices promptly dropped. Merchants lobbied against the export ban, but Grattan's Parliamentexercising the short lived powers within the Constitution ofoverrode their protests.

Ireland in the 1800s

There was no such export ban in the s. The laws had largely been reformed byand the Roman Catholic Relief Act allowed Irish Catholics to again sit in parliament. Landlords and tenants[ edit ] During the 18th century, the "middleman system" for managing landed property was introduced.

Rent collection was left in the hands of the landlords' agents, or middlemen. This assured the landlord of a regular income, and relieved them of direct responsibility, while leaving tenants open to exploitation by the middlemen.

An introduction to the history of the great hunger in ireland

At the top of the "social pyramid" was the " ascendancy class ", the English and Anglo-Irish families who owned most of the land, and held more or less unchecked power over their tenants.

Many of these landlords lived in England and were known as absentee landlords. The rent revenue—collected from "impoverished tenants" who were paid minimal wages to raise crops and livestock for export [34] —was mostly sent to England.

They established a Royal Commissionchaired by the Earl of Devonto enquire into the laws regarding the occupation of land. Daniel O'Connell described this commission as "perfectly one-sided", being composed of landlords, with no tenant representation.

It would be impossible adequately to describe the privations which they [the Irish labourer and his family] habitually and silently endure There was no hereditary loyalty, feudal tie, or mitigating tradition of paternalism as existed in England Ireland was a conquered country.

The Earl of Clare observed of landlords that "confiscation is their common title". With the Irish "brooding over their discontent in sullen indignation" in the words of the Earl of Clarethe countryside was largely viewed by landlords as a hostile place in which to live, and absentee ownership was common; some landlords visited their property only once or twice in a lifetime, if ever.

They would split a holding into smaller and smaller parcels so as to increase the amount of rent they could obtain. Tenants could be evicted for reasons such as non-payment of rents which were highor a landlord's decision to raise sheep instead of grain crops.

A cottier paid his rent by working for the landlord. Most tenants had no security of tenure on the land; as tenants "at will", they could be turned out whenever the landlord chose. The only exception to this arrangement was in Ulster where, under a practice known as "tenant right"a tenant was compensated for any improvement they made to their holding.

According to Woodham-Smith, the commission stated that "the superior prosperity and tranquility of Ulster, compared with the rest of Ireland, were due to tenant right". Woodham-Smith writes that, in these circumstances, "industry and enterprise were extinguished and a peasantry created which was one of the most destitute in Europe".

Holdings were so small that no crop other than potatoes would suffice to feed a family. Shortly before the famine the British government reported that poverty was so widespread that one-third of all Irish small holdings could not support their families after paying their rent, except by earnings of seasonal migrant labour in England and Scotland.

Two-thirds of those depended on agriculture for their survival, but they rarely received a working wage. They had to work for their landlords in return for the patch of land they needed to grow enough food for their own families. This was the system which forced Ireland and its peasantry into monoculturesince only the potato could be grown in sufficient quantity.

The rights to a plot of land in Ireland could mean the difference between life and death in the early 19th century.

For economic reasons, the Irish peasantry had become dependent on potato crop. The potato was introduced to Ireland as a garden crop of the gentry.

By the late 17th century, it had become widespread as a supplementary rather than a principal food because the main diet still revolved around butter, milk, and grain products. However, in the first two decades of the 18th century, it became a base food of the poor, especially in winter.

For the labourer, it was essentially a potato wage that shaped the expanding agrarian economy. Bythere were over half a million peasant farmers, with 1. The principal beneficiary of this system was the English consumer.

Ireland had been used to pasture cows for centuries. The British taste for beef had a devastating impact on the impoverished and disenfranchised people of Eventually, cows took over much of Ireland, leaving the native population virtually dependent on the potato for survival.

General crop failures, through disease or frost, were recorded in, and In History Ireland magazine (, issue 5, pp. ), Christine Kinealy, a Great Hunger scholar, lecturer and Drew University professor, relates her findings: “Almost 4, vessels carried food from Ireland to the ports of Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool and London during , when , Irish men, women and children died of starvation and related diseases.

Introduction. Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, is sending its acclaimed art collection to Ireland in layers of history are peeled back to uncover aspects of the story indecipherable by other means.

Above all, the artworks stand proud as powerful, reflective and inspirational expressions. Aug 21,  · Watch video · The Irish Potato Famine, also known as the Great Hunger, began in when a fungus-like organism called Phytophthora infestans (or P.

infestans) spread rapidly throughout Ireland. The. The history of Ireland is a case in point. Until recently Irish history was dominated by an account of how the Irish resisted, and eventually threw off, the oppressive rule of the English and their collaborators.

The Irish Famine, which in Ireland became known as "The Great Hunger," was the great turning point in Irish history. It changed the society forever, most strikingly by greatly reducing the population. The popularity of Quinnipiac University’s travelling exhibition, Coming Home: Art & the Great Hunger(opening in An tSeaneaglais [Glassworks], Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, Derry, in January ) and the recent release of the film Black ’47have renewed popular interest in the Great Hunger.

The Irish Potato Famine, the Great Hunger, genocide - what should we call it? | benjaminpohle.com