Friday, 17 October 2014

The Famine in Kilrush, County Clare

An 1851 Report on Kilrush Workhouse published in the memoirs of Dr Robert Madden was recently added to the library website. In February of that year Dr Madden witnessed “ a multitude of human beings, exceeding a thousand, congregated round the building, men, women and children, in every state of famine debility and disease, arising from want of food, want of sufficient raiment, and in many cases want of shelter fit for human beings in that inclement season.” A number of other articles on the website throw light on the tragic situation in Kilrush Union during this period including the Minute Books for the workhouse for 1849; a return of deaths in the workhouse for 1950-51 and a report on evictions in Kilrush Union, 1847-49 by Captain Kennedy. Reports and drawings in the Illustrated London News vividly convey the dire circumstances as they unfolded and more local newspaper reports are collected in the History of Kilrush by Senan Scanlan who also addresses the role of the Vandeleur family during the Famine.

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