Blawg Review

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Irish Famine Blawg Review

Custom House Quays, Dublin. Painfully thin sculptural figures, by artist Rowan Gillespie, stand as if walking towards the emigration ships on the Dublin Quayside.

To commemorate National Famine Memorial Day, Rossa McMahon hosts Blawg Review #264.

The Great Famine of Ireland is memorialized in many locations throughout Ireland, especially in those regions that suffered the greatest losses, and also in cities overseas with large populations descended from Irish immigrants.

The history of the Irish Famine has been re-examined in recent years by historians like Jim Donnelly, who writes about the catastrophe in no uncertain terms.
Altogether, about a million people in Ireland are reliably estimated to have died of starvation and epidemic disease between 1846 and 1851, and some two million emigrated in a period of a little more than a decade (1845-55). Comparison with other modern and contemporary famines establishes beyond any doubt that the Irish famine of the late 1840s, which killed nearly one-eighth of the entire population, was proportionally much more destructive of human life than the vast majority of famines in modern times.
Christine Kinealy, in The Great Irish Potato Famine, and: Famine, Land and Culture in Ireland, credits Donnelly's work and its importance.
Ireland's Great Hunger was a watershed not only in the development of Ireland, but also in the development of the United States. Yet, until the mid-1990s, it was ignored, marginalized, or disregarded by Irish historians. The 150th anniversary produced an unprecedented and unexpected outpouring of interest that extended far beyond the reach of professional historians. Consequently, scholars have recently employed new methodological and interdisciplinary approaches to increase the understanding of this pivotal event. Students of Ireland's Great Famine owe a debt to James Donnelly. His early research on the Famine helped to break an academic silence and to give the tragedy its rightful place in Irish history. In 1989 he contributed a set of chapters to the solid (but not widely read) A New History of Ireland. In an article published in History Ireland in 1993, Donnelly identified the gap between academic and popular perceptions of the Famine. He also took revisionist historians to task for not having confronted the tragedy "honestly and squarely"...
For many Irish, it was a difficult choice: Death or Canada.
For Torontonians, the influx of 38,560 refugees from the Famine to their city, in 1847, not only challenged public officials, and strained local resources in what would amount to the greatest civic crisis in the young city's history, the spring and summer of "Black '47" would leave an indelible set of images regarding the nature and character of "the Irish"

In the summer of 1847 the Toronto Waterfront witnessed one of the greatest human tragedies in the history of the city. Between May and October of that year, over 38,000 Irish Famine emigrants arrived from Ireland at a time when the city's population was just 20,000 people.
From Toronto's Island Airport, it's a short walk to Ireland Park to contemplate the Great Famine with four bronze statues of Irish immigrants arriving at the Toronto wharves in 1847, modeled after the Dublin Departure Memorial; tomorrow evening at 7:30 a meetup of bloggers and tweeters at the Irish Embassy Pub to raise a glass to our friends on the Emerald Isle and salute Rossa McMahon for hosting this Blawg Review #264 to mark National Famine Memorial Day in Ireland.

Who's gonna meetup at the Irish Embassy Pub on Monday, May 17th? Let us know if you can be there and we'll add you to this list.

Ed. @blawgreview
Connie Crosby @conniecrosby
Omar HaRedeye @OmarHaRedeye
Antonin Pribetic @AntoninPribetic

We'll be there from around 7:30 pm until they throw us out.

Everyone's welcome, so please help us spread the word on Twitter.