'An tOcras Mór' The Great Hunger.

Subtitle

Forums

Post Reply
Forum Home > History Of The Irish "The Great Hunger" > The Great Hunger -Personal Stories

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

IRELAND

 

Famine Scenes--Personal Stories

 

Irish Famine--Unit IV Activity 3 ( N.J. Curriculum Continued)

 

FAMINE SCENES (THE HORROR)

"A cabin was seen closed one day a little out of town, when a man had the curiosity to open it, and in a dark corner he found a family of the father, mother, and two children, lying in close compact. The father was considerably decomposed; the mother, it appeared, had died last, and probably fastened the door, which was always the custom when all hope was extinguished, to get into the darkest corner and die, where passers-by could not see them. Such family scenes were quite common, and the cabin was generally pulled down upon them for a grave." (1.)

 

"Six men, beside Mr. Griffith, crossed with me in an open boat, and we landed, not buoyantly, upon a once pretty island. The first that called my attention was the death-like stillness - nothing of life was seen or heard, except occasionally a dog. These looked so unlike all others I had seen among the poor - I unwittingly said, "How can the dogs look so fat and shining here, where there is no food for the people?" The pilot turned to Mr. Griffith, not supposing that I heard him, and said, "Shall I tell her?"

 

That was enough: if anything were wanting to make the horrors of the famine complete, this supplied the deficiency." (2.)

 

"Going out one cold day in a bleak waste on the coast, I met a pitiful old man in hunger and tatters, with a child on his back, almost entirely naked, and to appearance in the last stages of starvation; whether his naked legs had been scratched, or whether the cold had affected them I knew not, but the blood was in small streams in different places, and the sight was a horrid one. The old man said he lived seven miles off, and was afraid the child would die in the cabin, with the two little children he had left starving, and he had come to get the bit of meal, as it was the day he heard food relief was being given out. The officer told him he had not time to enter his name in the book, and he was sent away in that condition. A penny or two was given him, for which he expressed the greatest gratitude.

 

The next Saturday we saw the old man creeping slowly in a bending posture upon the road. The old man looked up and recognized me. On inquiring where the child was, he said the three were left in the cabin, and had not taken a 'sup or a bit' since yesterday morning, and he was afraid some of them would be dead upon the hearth when he returned. He was so weak that he could not carry the child and had crept seven miles to get the meal. He was sent away again with a promise to wait till next Tuesday, and come and have his name on the books. This poor man had not a penny nor a mouthful of food, and he said tremulously, 'I must go home and die on the hearth with the hungry ones."' (3.)

 

"The deaths in my native place were many and horrible. The poor famine-stricken people were found by the wayside, emaciated corpses, partly green from eating docks (weeds) and nettles and partly blue from the cholera and dysentery." (4.)

--

 

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

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


August 15, 2015 at 5:35 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

"There was a girl who had her hands worn from scraping the stones of the strand for food, such as shaddy and all sorts of shellfish, and when she had the strand bare she was found lying dead." (5.)

 

"The children's appearance, though common to thousands of the same age in this region of the shadow of death, was indescribable. Their paleness was not that of common sickness...They did not look as if newly raised from the grave and to life before the blood had begun to fill their veins anew; but as if they had been thawed out of the ice, in which they had been imbedded until their blood had turned to water." (6.)

 

"We met flocks of wretched children going to school for the 'bit of bread', some crying with hunger, and some begging to get in without the penny which was required for their tuition. The poor emaciated creatures went weeping away, one said he had been looking for a penny all day yesterday, and could not get it." (7.)

 

DEATH FROM EATING FOOD

"So many had been starving for so long that when they were given food...the danger of death actually increased. The body could neither absorb nor assimilate so sudden an intake of nutrients it had been craving for so long...The heart especially could not withstand the added workload of a sudden increase in the body's metabolic rate." 'Carthy swallowed a little warm milk and died' was the simple statement of one man's death from starvation in Skibbereen. One man connected with the Quaker Society of Friends said, "If they get a full meal it kills them immediately." (8.)

 

"When the Indian meal came out, some of them were so desperate from starvation that they didn't wait for it to be cooked properly, they ate it almost raw and that brought on intestinal troubles that killed a lot of them that otherwise might have survived." (9.)

 

"The house was near the road and a pot of stirabout was kept for any starving person who passed the way. My mother Mary was a young girl at the time and alone in the house one day when a big giant of a fellow staggered in. He wolfed his share of stirabout and made for the door, but there was a tub of chopped raw cabbage and porridge for the pigs. He fell on his knees by the tub and devoured the stuff till she was in a fright, then he reeled out to the road and was found dead there a short time after." (10.)

 

"I heard my grandmother say that she knew fine people to be seen lying dead along the roads and in the fields. It seems they fell dead out of their standing and the dogs eating at them. They mustered up, she said, in bunches like, them that felt getting weak, and then went away to some place away out, and one done what they could for the other till they died." (11.)

 

There were so many deaths that they opened big trenches through the graveyards and when they were full of dead they filled them in. Most of those who died were children or old people. "It is estimated that three out of every five who died were under 10 years of age or over 60." (12.)

--

 

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

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


August 15, 2015 at 5:35 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

DEALING WITH THE DEAD

The problem of finding materials for coffins or transporting the corpses and digging graves for over a million dead, was made worse by the dire poverty and physical exhaustion caused by hunger and disease.

 

"A woman from the Teelin district of County Donegal, on the death of her little son, not having the wherewithal to get a coffin, put the child in the cradle, strapped the cradle on her back and carried it five miles to the nearest graveyard and buried it." (13.)

 

"The people had neither the material nor the strength to make coffins nor dig graves. When a person died they got a plank and tied the feet of the corpse to one end of it and the head to the other end, and the hands together, then two men took hold of it at each end and carried it to a bog nearby where the water was deep and threw it in." (14.)

 

"My father told me that he saw a man carrying his brother's corpse in a coffin on his back to Moybologue graveyard. He had no one to help him and he had to dig the grave and bury the corpse himself. He died in the hospital and people didn't like to attend the funeral because he died of fever, and they afraid they might take it. My father said it was the saddest sight he'd ever seen." (15.)

 

"They saw the man coming along the road - Scannlon was his name - and a load on his back. My grandmother asked him what he had there, and he said ‘twas his wife that was dead and he was taking her to Leitrum graveyard to bury her. He had her sitting on a board fastened over his shoulders and she was dressed in her cloak and hood just as she'd be when she was alive. His little son was with him. My grandmother went into the house and brought them food and milk. Scannlon wouldn't take anything; he said it would overcome him and he wanted to have his wife buried before dark. The little boy drank the milk." (16.)

--

 

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

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


August 15, 2015 at 5:36 AM Flag Quote & Reply

You must login to post.