Local impact of famine

This guide was last updated in 2012

The Famine Relief Commission Papers, which are held in the National Archives of Ireland, contain the records of the Relief Committees, established in 1845.

Although this collection offers insight into what was happening in a particular area, it does not generally contain records of the victims of the famine.

This source illustrates the efforts and frustrations of the local gentry in trying to administer relief to the local population such as the setting up of soup kitchens and public works projects. Although the returns no longer survive, checking the census statistics from 1841 and 1851 offers a stark illustration of the population decrease seen in each parish and townland.

There are also famine museums located around Ireland that hold detailed documentation of the impact of the famine on the local area and the efforts made by local landowners and clergy to respond to the horror of starvation and disease.

In the context of their descriptions, it is easy to understand why those who were able, left Ireland for a better life elsewhere.

Direct evidence of impact
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