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In the early 1840s, Ireland had over 8 million inhabitants. Two-and-half million were living in extreme poverty and were totally dependent on potatoes. An average man ate 14 pounds of potatoes per day so you can just imagine how devastating it was when in September 1845 the potato blight arrived.
Episode One of Blighted Nation deals with the arrival of the blight, the breakdown of society, starvation and disease, mass evictions, soup kitchen, workhouses, burying the dead, public works, bitter winter conditions, how the famine affected different areas and private charitable donations – the first example in history of a major international relief effort.
(Image courtesy of Ireland's Great Hunger Museum)
Prof. Christine Kinealy of Drew University in New Jersey, author of many books on the famine including the acclaimed This Great Calamity.
Prof. Willie Smyth of University College Cork, Editor of the award winning Atlas of the Great Irish Famine.
Terri Carney of Skibbereen Heritage Centre. Skibbereen was known as the epicentre of horror during the Great Famine.
Programme contributors include:
Former President Mary Robinson
Gerald Fleming (Met Eireann)
Prof. Maureen Murphy (Editor of Annals of the Famine in Ireland)
Dr. Brendan Kelly (consultant psychiatrist)
Dr. Laurence Geary (UCC)
Declan O’Rourke (singer)
Blighted Nation podcasts are extended versions of the original broadcasts and are available here