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- There are very few people alive who remember Great Famine of 1846. The district of Swords was twice as thickly populated before the famine as it was after it.Little black spots came on the leaves of the potato-stalk and these spots kept getting bigger until the whole stalk rotted and then the potato itself rotted.When the potato-crop failed the only food the Irish had was turnips and wheat, and they had to give this to the Landlords. The English Government gave no help to the Irish, they passes laws which made the famine worse on the people.Fever broke out and about half the population died or emigrated to America.Transcribed by a member of our volunteer transcription project.