Starving to death: the “luck” of the Irish

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.

Auburn Meadow Farm

“The Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the Famine.”

— Irish national activist, solicitor & political journalist, John Mitchel

250px-John_Mitchel_(Young_Ireland)

_________________________________________________________________________

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 mylack 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…

View original post 859 more words

Advertisements

About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
This entry was posted in food, horticulture and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s