As some of my friends and family know my stories can go all over the place but they always have a point in the end, and with my blog it may take a few posts before I get to my point but once I have, you will see it will be worth the read.
My first three blog posts are about the irish famine, what does this have to do with Jewelry making... you shall see!
The majority of my history is coming from Wesley Johnston.
The Irish Famine effected the entire country differently, some parts were hit harder than others. It is important to understand the types of agriculture in Ireland at the time of the famine. There were five main types, the first being Linen which came from North Eastern Ireland, they exported their linen goods and imported a lot of their food. Second, being Tillage in the South East, which is the tilling of land, these farmers partook in commercial agriculture to sell mainly potatoes and cereal crops. Third, Dairying which was in the South and theses people grew potatoes and had many cows that they would rent out to dairy men who milked the cows and kept them. These dairy men grew potatoes for substance. Fourth was Cattle Fattening, in the Midlands of ireland which were pastures of limestone and make it the perfect place for cattle rearing, these farmers then exported the cattle to England and the U.S. because those countries were not sufficient in raising cattle yet. And finally the Small Farming. This type of agriculture took up the Western part of the country, as the population boomed (between 1700 and the famine) massive amounts of people migrated to these areas of the Atlantic Coast. The potatoes and oats flourished in the poor Atlantic climate to feed the large population.
The areas that had exported their “cash” crops would purchase potatoes from the farmers that sold their excess potatoes in Dublin. As the oat crops were such a great export, money wise, they were not readily available to the poor and the poor ate only potatoes. If one added added milk it would provide enough nutrients and energy to live off of one plate of potatoes a day, which was a good stable for many (if they could afford milk). By the time of the famine farmers were eating three meals of potatoes a day. So as you can see much of the entire country was dependent on the potato for food by the time of the famine. As the Industrial Revolution came it did not come to ireland, as the country did not boom like England and the US. The country became poorer they became even more dependent on the potato. And as they depended more on agriculture and subsequently were more vulnerable to crop failures, they had were not prepared for what was to come. So how did the poor survive?
That will come in my next post...