John Crowley, William J. Smyth & Mike Murphy Atlas Of The Great Irish Famine


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Code 9781859184790

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Winner of the Best Irish Published Book of the year 2012.

The Great Famine is possibly the most pivotal event/experience in modern Irish history. Its global reach and implications cannot be overestimated. In terms of mortality, it is now widely accepted that over a million people perished between the years 1845-1852 and at least one million and a quarter fled the country, the great majority to North America, some to Australia and a significant minority ((0.3 million) to British cities. Ireland had been afflicted by famine before the
events of the 1840s; however the Great Famine is marked by both its absolute scale and its longevity. It is also better remembered because it was the most recent and best documented famine. This atlas comprising over fifty individual chapters and case studies will provide readers with a broad range of perspectives and relevant insights into this tragic event.

This atlas seeks to try and bear witness to the thousands and thousands of people who died and are buried in mass Famine pits or in fields and ditches, with little or nothing to remind us of their going. The centrality of the Famine workhouse as a place of destitution is also examined in depth. Likewise the atlas seeks to represent and understand the conditions and experiences of the many thousands who emigrated from Ireland in those desperate years. Included are case studies of famine emigrants in cities such as Liverpool, Glasgow, New York anoronto.

 The atlas also seeksto situate the Great Irish Famine in the context of a number of world famines. To achieve these goals and understandings, the atlas includes contributions from a wide range of scholars who are experts in their fields – from the arts, folklore, geography, history, archaeology, Irish and English languages and literatures.

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President Michael D. Higgins also spoke about the contribution of the research in his address at UCC in 2018

‘It is perhaps because its origins are steeped in such a history that University College Cork has been to the fore in bringing both a scholarly rigour and a moral engagement to the study of a defining period in what was, to use a phrase used by the late Brendan Bradshaw, the ‘catastrophic dimensions of the Irish past’. The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine, a project led by scholars of this university, represents an important achievement as a piece of inter-disciplinary scholarship and it is without doubt a profound contribution to our understanding of An Gorta Mór. We can all gain so much from drawing on the new research for a deeper understanding of the Great Famine, which was the single most important event in forming, and giving form, to a distinctive form of Irish modernity, one defined by catastrophe and its aftermath, by the determination to survive, whether at home or abroad, and by the drawing forth of some of the very best and worst instincts of humanity – greed and generosity, hope and despair, freedom and servitude.

‘The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine is a stunning achievement, full of cutting-edge research and inter-disciplinary perspectives, lavishly illustrated and a worthy monument to the defining event in modern Irish history.’

Professor Diarmaid Ferriter, Department of Modern History, University College Dublin, The Irish Times 8 December 2012, p. 11


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