School: Birr (Mercy Convent)

Birr or Parsonstown, Co. Offaly
Sr. Flannan

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Famine Days

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0821, Page 179

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Famine Days

The Great Famine of 1846-47 did not affect the district and town of Birr very much. The potato-crop failed as it did all over the country. At this time, the English soldiers occupied the Barracks at Crinkle, they were well supplied with bread, etc.
The poor people from Kinnity and the surrounding district finding themselves overcome by hunger and in the grip of the fever which spread as a result of starvation and bad housing faced Birr where there was a fever hospital also a workhouse.
The only road then leading from Kinnity was what is now known as the "Military Road" (At Seefin outside the town a turn to the left leads to this road it goes on to Crinkle. So called because it was the only road the military made use of in those days when coming into Birr). The poor fever stricken people passed close to the Crinkle Barracks, the soldiers brought them out bread, etc., they also supplied the people in the near neighbourhood with bread.

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John Kennedy
Clonoghil Upper, Co. Offaly