An Gorta Mór

An Gorta Mór (The Great Famine) was a period in Ireland between 1845 and 1852

Throughout this time there was mass starvation, disease and emigration. Many people refer to it as the Irish Potato Famine because one third of the population was solely reliant on the cheap potato crop for survival. During the famine it is thought that approximately one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland causing the island’s population to fall by twenty five percent.

The main cause of the famine was a disease commonly known as potato blight. Although the potato crop failed, the country was still producing and exporting more than enough grain crops to feed the population and records show during the period Ireland was exporting approximately thirty to fifty shiploads per day of food produce.

As a consequence of these exports along with a number of other factors, such as land acquisition, absentee landlords and the effect of the 1690 penal laws, this period became known as The Great Famine. This permanently changed Ireland’s demographic, political and cultural landscape.