The Other Famine: The 1822 Crisis in County Leitrim
In the summer of 1822 a bad potato crop and limited employment opportunities created famine conditions in the west and south-west of Ireland. The Other Famine is the first book to examine these events, and specifically their implications for County Leitrim. Beginning with an overview of life in the county from 1800 to 1821, this book looks at landlord–tenant relationships, the standard of living of the poor, and the impact of the typhus fever epidemic of 1816-18. What follows is a detailed analysis of the summer of 1822 in Leitrim, when more than half the population relied on hand-outs from a variety of charitable institutions, particularly the London Tavern Committee. Among the issues explores are how the mechanism of relief was established in the county, the personalities involved and the problems which arose. Finally, the author assessed the role played by landlords, and the reasons why so many people in the county, and the country as a whole, were left dependent on a single crop for their survival. For The Other Famine, MacAtasney has sourced a rich body of material which enables us, for the first time, to gain an in-depth understanding of the effects of the failure of the potato crop in 1822.
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