“Black ’47” Was the Worst of the Disaster
By Tom Emery
Though the people of Ireland are known for their engaging manner, the history of the nation is rife with sadness. The infamous potato famine, however, stands alone.
The worst year of the famine, 1847, was so stark that it was dubbed “Black ’47” for its horror. The famine was the most severe in Europe in the nineteenth century and decimated the Irish population and economy, forever changing the demographic of both Ireland and the United States.
“At least one and a half million died as a result of the famine, and roughly the same number left for the U.S., Canada, and England,” said Dr. Natasha Casey, a native of Ireland and faculty member in English and Communications at Blackburn College. “Even these estimates are staggering.”
The potato famine is traced to a blight that arrived from North America in 1845 and, coupled with an unusually wet year in Ireland, had devastating consequences. (Continue)