'An tOcras Mór' The Great Hunger.


Art Foretells the Future and Records the Past

Frank Brown Great Hunger Memorial 1

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Frank Brown Great Hunger Memorial 1
"Imagine now, a person who has everything he loves taken from him; at the same time, his house, his habits, his clothes, in short everything he owns. He will become a hollow person, reduced to a thing of suffering and needs, forgetful of dignity and restraint - for he who looses all, often looses himself... Those who survived were not the best. The worst survive; the selfish, the violent, the collaborators, the spies. And the survivors feel ashamed. Primo Levi, ?The Memory of the Offence? 1954
Posted by Damien Kerr on October 28, 2010 Full Size|

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Reply Kristine
7:27 AM on October 30, 2010 
The Great Silence, this is interesting. I was just writing tonight before posting that my grandparents never talked about this. Ever. It was my aunt who was doing all of the research, There was never a discussion or remark or even an opinion on the matter from my grandparents. I would notice though that their silence was not natural. Strange, I thought as a kid, I picked up on this. I have found a lot of answers to mysterious questions through this site and because of your contributions, I am so thankful. All those bits and pieces are starting to make sense now and I feel like I am getting to know my grandparents better and their parents even though they are no longer alive here.
Thank you for what you are doing. Thank you for sharing about your family. Please write about the Great Silence, this is confirmation to me of its reality. Thank you.
Reply Damien Kerr
6:19 AM on October 30, 2010 
I agree with what you say. If I lived in a town and had a family I would have contributed to a general effort to pay carters to collect the destitute and diseased victims and cart them far enough outside the city so the nearly helpless didn?t have enough energy to crawl back. This did occur in Cork.
If I had a farm or sold food I would have objected to an increase in rates to pay enough to run the local workhouse properly. I would have been outraged if the government started giving out free food because my food stocks would be worthless. Who would buy food if it could be obtained for nothing?
If land could be bought cheaply because of the desolation I would have bought it and thought I thought I did no wrong. My great-grandfather was three when the Great Hunger struck. He survived and became a blacksmith. An expensive apprenticeship was necessary to learn a trade then so he must have been more prosperous than his neighbours. We know something about his story. He was literate and read ?The Freeman?s Journal? in the forge in the evening to those who could not read or could not afford to buy a newspaper. He helped found a library in the town. He raised and educated his family and was widely respected. He was a deeply religious man but there are no family stories about the Great Hunger. Many families didn?t refer to the calamity. After the Great Hunger came the Great Silence. I have to explain the Great Silence.
Reply Kristine
5:21 AM on October 30, 2010 
Interesting synopsis, but not only the worst survived. The absolute worst that survived were their neighbors who did not lend a hand to feed their hunger. Those neighbors have flourished from a corrupt ancestral line. I am proud of my ancestral lineage and I am grateful to live and tell the Truth of the whole history. I think the Irish people who suffered and starved to death deserve respect as if at a grave of a family member, not a historical analysis. And to those that suffered further loss of their country through emigration, I have great admiration for. True Faith and Courage. To me this is very personal and sacred. Beautiful memorial...Thank you.