School: Caladh (C.) (roll number 8740)

Callow, Co. Mayo
Bean Uí Éaráin

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Famine Times

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0126, Page 59

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Old people of my district still remember the great Famine period of 1846. The usuall food people lived on then was potatoes.
This year a fever came on the crop called the blight. Some people say this came from the sea. Then the potato-crop failed. People had nothing to eat then but what was growing wild on the land.
They used to eat leaves of trees and grass, and nettles just like animals. These had to be eaten or else die. Many a person died at the ditch with the hunger. They died in great numbers. The people of the house carried the coffin to the grave on their backs.
Some people went out begging. They got oats that was not ground. Out of this they made cakes. Others got a crook of yellow meal or three potatoes for charity. The government sent the people yellow meal.
During the Famine years people say the main road was made. The year after the Famine Callow schools

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Mrs Ralp
Swineford, Co. Mayo