Mon, 20 March 2017
As the harvest of 1845 approached in Ireland, rumours circulated that a mysterious disease was attacking the potato crop. While well informed botanists in London grew increasingly anxious about what lay ahead, many Irish peasants dependent on potatoes had little idea what was happening. When the harvest did fail, the Great Famine had begun. Terror gripped the population and I look at what the British authorities did to respond.
Wed, 8 March 2017
1845 is famous for one thing in Irish history – the beginning of the Great Famine. However contrary to what you might expect, if you lived in Ireland through most of 1845 there was little evidence to suggest Irish society stood on the brink of one of the greatest famines in history. This episode looks at the highs and lows of life in Ireland as the Famine approached.
To this end we follow the life of William A'Court, better known as Baron Heytesbury - the Lord Leuitenant of Ireland appointed in 1844. The show looks at the problems facing Irish society - sectarianism, the political controversy around the Movement for the Repeal of the Act of Union and the Poor Law. It also looks at why there was every reason to be hopeful about the future with the approach of that fateful harvest in 1845.
You can support this series at www.patreon.com/Irishpodcast