School: Béal Átha Conaill (2)

Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan
M. Laing

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Famine Times

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0968, Page 050

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Previous to 1846 the population of Ireland exceeded 8,000,000. At that time their food consisted chiefly of potatoes and oatenmeal, but in 1846 a disease struck the potato crop now known as blight. The people of that time knew of no remedy to save the crop and they turned out a complete failure. Men were known to go out to the field in the morning and dig all day without getting a sound potato and before the years was out the people where in a state of starvation. The British government came to the aid of the Irish people and sent in Indian meal which was known at the time as "Buck meal" as it was its first appearance in this country. It was given out at different centres there was one pound of meal per day allowed for each person. Some of the people had to travel several miles to secure it and they were often known to die by the roadside with weakness for want of sufficient food. There were also large sums of money sent from other countries to provide clothing for the people. But the people who got change of the money who were the local Gentry of that time instead of providing them with food and clothing, made them go out to make new roads and to improve the old ones

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Mrs Mc Mullen
Mucklagh, Co. Cavan