argylesock says… I’ve written before about how potato blight killed the Irish crop, largely because this vegetable is propagated vegetatively so it’s clonal. Nearly everybody in Ireland was growing the same potato variety, ‘Lumper’, which didn’t resist the late blight Phytophthora infestans. Your post here brings in the essential human side to this story. I don’t condone what my English ancestors did, and of course I can’t put it right because I wasn’t alive then. I do appreciate reading about this terrible history on St Patrick’s Day, which seems to be far more important in the Irish-American diaspora than it is to Irish people who live here in England. Here’s a telling of the history.
“The Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the Famine.”
— Irish national activist, solicitor & political journalist, John Mitchel
My family came to America from Ireland in the early 1900’s so you’d think I’d have some firsthand tales to tell about the Great Hunger. But, alas, my family is not a sharer of stories, photos or heirlooms handed down from one generation to the next.
They say history is written by the victors, and my
lack of understanding of the Irish Potato Famine proves this true. This day every year when all Americans are honorary Irishmen is a perfect time to reflect on the actual history of the most influential Irish event I know.
Of course what we call the Irish Potato Famine, the Irish instead call the Great Starvation. The Irish rejection of the term Famine is very specific; a famine is a natural disaster. And…
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