'An tOcras Mór' The Great Hunger.

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Forum Home > How Each County Was Affected "The Great Hunger" > County Wicklow - Cill Mhantáin / Co. Chill Mhantáin

SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

(There are now) eighty-seven in various stages of sickness, and quite a number of bad cases ... There were two more deaths yesterday, making in all, up to the 7th, eleven deaths ... There are now several widows and quiet a number of children for whom I shall make provision. There are also seven orphans, the father having died on the passage and the mother yesterday..... The surgeon who came out with the passengers has taken the fever...."  http://www.countywicklowheritage.org/page/the_surplus_people

April 29, 2015 at 4:18 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

Written by: D.J.Griffiths and transcribed by former IrelandGenWeb County Coordinator

 

 

A Viking presence is known at Arklow and Wicklow Town where trading stations became important medieval towns in the Anglo-Norman period. The Anglo-Normans came near the end of the twelfth century. But though this was a much more serious invasion than that of the

Vikings, and though these newcomers continued to make settlements in various parts of the country, the Irish people still adhered everywhere to their native customs. Indeed it is well known that, except in a small district round Dublin, the settlers generally intermarried and became incorporated with the natives, adopting their language, laws, dress, and usage, so as to be quite indistinguishable from them, and becoming "more Irish than the Irish themselves.

 

The 14th Century saw sporadic war spread throughout the area between Anglo-Norman settlers, indigenous dwellers and the ever encroaching Clann O'Byrne, the latter forced into the East Wicklow Glens from their Kildare lands by the greater military strength of the Earls of Kildare.

 

A surviving monument to this troubled time is a fragment of tower at Stump House, a mile from Rathdrum. Once Kilcommon Castle, its four towered keep was built in c.1320 by Sir Hugh Lawless, an old Wicklow warrior in his vain attempt to stem the O'Byrne expansion. There is little account of the area after that. Up to the early 16th century, Rathdrum lay 'Beyond the Pale' and the O'Byrne Clann left to rule this place as they saw fit, until after they attached a English led force who had camped near the present Avondale, forcing them to flee all the way back to Wicklow Castle. As a result Rathdrum a permanent garrison post. After this the O'Byrnes were vanquished and the town of Rathdrum confiscated. In 1578 the Coolattin Estates in Wicklow were given to Henry Harrington a adventurer ( a investor) in the queen's (Elizabeth Ist ) disposition to hold land for 21 years. She had confiscated it from the O'Brynes, When he died in 1621 the property passed to a Welshman, The vast woodlands of the area offered long term sources of fuel to extract the metal ore and he maintained a business between Wales and Wicklow

 

In 1605 the area now know as county Wicklow was Shired.  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~irlwic/oldsite/historywicklow.html

April 29, 2015 at 4:19 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

See how a series potato crop failures across Ireland in the 1840s led to a catastrophic famine, increased crime and a chaotic period at Wicklow Gaol.

 

3_famine

 

Bad weather and an over reliance on a single variety of potato led to a fungal infection known as blight attacking crops. Death from starvation, and other related causes, afflicted a country totally dependent on this crop.

 

The shortage of food, the rise in prices, and the closure of relief works originally set up at the beginning of the famine to provide people with a source of revenue, all combined to make a desperate situation intolerable. A depressed and starving population resorted to extreme measures in order to survive.

 

 

Increase in Crime

 

There was a considerable increase in crime during this period. More often than not it was crime against property, rather than crime against the person. Over 800 instances of cattle and sheep-stealing occurred between 1846 and 1850 in Wicklow.

 

The highest number of prisoners ever held in Wicklow Gaol in a year was in 1848, at the height of the famine, when 780 people were imprisoned. At this point the gaol had only 77 cells. The overcrowding and chaos within each cell must have been unimaginable.

 

Famine Era Rations

 

In 1845, the diet for prisoners at Wicklow Gaol consisted of potatoes and milk at both breakfast and dinner, with bread issued on Sundays. By 1849, with no potatoes available, the authorities provided a diet of meal and bread instead. With food being so scarce, some people were ready to commit petty crime in order to be imprisoned and thereby ensure they had regular meals.

 

As in the 1798 period, an extreme sequence of events outside the its walls combined to put severe pressure on the Gaol and its administration

.http://www.wicklowshistoricgaol.com/history/major-events/great-famine/

April 29, 2015 at 4:20 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

The original Dunbrody was built in 1845 in Quebec. She was commissioned along with 7 sister ships by ‘William Graves & Son’, a merchant family from New Ross. She was built by the expert shipwright Thomas Hamilton Oliver, an Irish emigrant from Co. Derry. The building of the ship took only six months and was supervised by her first master Captain John Baldwin, who captained her from 1845 to March 1848.

Designed as a cargo vessel the Dunbrody’s main cargos where timber from Canada, cotton from the southern states of the U.S.A. and guano from Peru. 

In 1845, the very year of her launch, famine struck Ireland. With the potato crop failing and food prices soaring, widespread starvation would soon force more than a million people to flee the country. So many people left, that there were not enough passenger ships to carry them all. Entrepreneurial merchants, like the Graves’, took the opportunity to fit out their cargo vessels with bunks to meet the extra demand. Between 1845 and 1851 the Dunbrody carried thousands of emigrants to North America. Lax regulation allowed a ship the size of the Dunbrody to carry anywhere from 160 passengers to over 300. In 1847 she is recorded as carrying 313 passengers to Quebec. Many of her passengers were tenant farmers from the estates of Lord Fitzwilliam in Co. Wicklow, and Viscount de Vesci in Portlaoise.

 

Only two classes of passengers were carried by he Dunbrody; cabin passengers, paying between £5 and £8; and steerage passengers, paying between £3 and £4. As the average farm labourer could expect to make little more than £1 per month, even a steerage ticket was beyond the means of many people. Cabin passengers had substantial food and services provided. Steerage passengers, though, largely had to fend for themselves.

 

By 1847 the potato crop had failed for 3 years in a row, and mass emigration was underway. Within the first open months of spring, 40 ships were waiting to disembark at the quarantine station at Grosse Ile in Quebec. With the facility utterly overwhelmed by the numbers arriving, many people were forced to wait for weeks before they could even leave their ships. In May 1847 after finally disembarking his passengers, Captain Baldwin wrote to William Graves reporting, “the Dunbrody was detained in quarantine for five days because there were too many ships queuing in the St. Lawrence River. Doctor Douglas is nearly single-handed… everyday, dozens of corpses are thrown overboard from many ships… I have heard that some of them have no fresh water left and the passengers and crew have to drink the water from the river. God help them!”

 

Although the Dunbrody was detained at Grosse Ile on a number of occasions, her onboard mortality rate was very low. This was, without doubt due to her good and humane captains, Captain Baldwin and his successor Captain John W. Williams. On more than one occasion, emigrants writing back home praised their care and dedication to both crew and passengers. Thanks to a well-organised overseas mail service, the Captains were also able to remain in regular contact with William Graves.

 

The Graves Family continued to operate the Dunbrody until 1869, when she was sold to another company. In 1874, while en route to Quebec from Cardiff, her captain chose not to wait for a pilot to assist him in navigating the St. Lawrence. He paid for his impatience when she promptly ran aground. She was fortunate to bought by a salvage company, who repaired and resold her. Unfortunately, in 1875 she suffered a second and fatal grounding. Sailing for Liverpool with a cargo of timber worth £12,500, a fierce gale blew her off course and onto the shore of Labrador. While the exact details are not known, having run aground fully laden with a heavy timber cargo it is assumed that her aging hull was damaged beyond economical repair. She was abandoned at last, left to break up over time and rot away to nothing.http://www.dunbrody.com/visitor-info/the-history-of-dunbrody/


April 29, 2015 at 4:23 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

Rathdrum Poor Law Union was formally declared on the 25th September 1839 and covered an area of 324 square miles. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 30 in number, representing its 12 electoral divisions as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Rathdrum/

April 29, 2015 at 4:25 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

Baltinglass Poor Law Union was formally declared on the 21st November 1839 and covered an area of 223 square miles. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 21 in number, representing its 11 electoral divisions as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one): http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Baltinglass/

April 29, 2015 at 4:27 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór'

* To call on the Government of Ireland and its Ministers, and members of all political parties to correctly call it

'An tOcras Mór' The Great Hunger.

It should be signed by anyone, of any religious, political or intellectual background, who wants the truth about Ireland’s history to be faced and justly discussed, not evaded or concealed.

In proud and loving memory of the Men, Women and Children of Ireland who suffered and died in the Great Hunger.

http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850

April 29, 2015 at 4:27 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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