The Great Famine
(An Gorta Mór)

The Great Hunger

Andrew Kerins was five when the Great Famine hit. He survived. Others did not.

The Great Famine (An Gorta Mór) ravaged Ireland.

One million people died during the period 1845 to 1852. And a further one million emigrated to places like Liverpool, Glasgow, and particularly America.

It was caused by a disease affecting potatoes, a blight that changed them into a mushy mess.

Irish people starving during the Great Famine circa 1845-1849.

A disease that struck all Europe.

But in Ireland a third of the population relied on potatoes for food, shelter, warmth and money. So Ireland was hit disproportionately hard.

Ireland’s potato crop failed in successive years. Hundreds of thousands of tenant farmers were evicted for non-payment of rent during these years.

By August 1847 three million people were receiving rations from soup kitchens.

A Catholic priest blesses kneeling immigrants as they to leave their homes and families in Ireland for North America during the Great Famine circa 1850.

Social Disaster

The disaster best known outside Ireland as the Irish Potato Famine is regarded as the biggest single social disaster of 19th century Europe.

The figures speak for themselves

In 1844 8.4 million people lived in Ireland. By 1851 just 6.6m remained.

It is estimated 200,000 emigrated to the UK during that seven-year period, and a sizeable proportion of those to Glasgow.

It was this displaced community that Brother Walfrid spent 24 years of his life helping.

Seeing that they received the basic food and shelter they so lacking during the dark days of An Gorta Mór.

When a combination of Government indifference and free trade economics left large swathes of the hard-working people of Ireland to fend for themselves.

The causes of the Irish famine are covered at length in the one-hour documentary that you get as part of the Brother Walfrid Limited Edition boxed set.

Watch a 1-minute trailer: