There were famines in Ireland before 1845 that killed thousands of people all around the country. Lots of people died and lots emigrated. People in Ireland were so worried because every one depended on the potato. Some of the potatoes rotted in the ground. About one third were destroyed. Some potatoes rotted in the ground and some looked healthy when harvested. Robert peel bought 100,000 worth of Indian corn to try and prevent starvation in Ireland. Local committees applied to the Board of Works for grants. Workers were paid 10-12 pence per day. With this they were just about able to buy food. The government set up a soup kitchen act. They gave out free food. The food given out was an Indian meal with rice and water. This was called stirabout, it was a very thin soup which often caused diarrhoea. In 1847 there were only 100,000 work houses in Ireland. About half the people in the work houses were children. When the famine was over there was about 120,000 children in work houses. There were lots of diseases going around during the famine. They are called famine fever, Typhus, Black fever, Yellow fever, Relapsing fever, Dysentry, and Scurvy.There was a work house up on the Leenane road before the houses were built. Up on Mconville park men, women, and children were buried. Children were also buried in fields on the west road. During the famine in the convent a 24 year old lady died from famine fever. More than half the people in the work houses were children. Lots of them were orphaned or abandoned. As result of the famine thousands and thousands of men, women, and children emigrated on the coffinships to the four corners of the universe but more notably to the U.S.A and that is why there is such a huge population of Irish Americans living in the U.S.A.
By Shannon Duffy