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Views of the Famine

Steve Taylor

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From approximately 1845 to 1851, Ireland witnessed a potato famine that claimed close to one million lives, spurred waves of mass emigration, and permanently changed the social, cultural, and economic structure of society in Ireland. The famine was covered widely in local and international news at the time. This site presents hundreds of images, cartoons, and articles concerning the famine from several Irish and British publications. Articles are drawn from the Illustrated London News, the Cork Examiner (Ireland), and the Pictorial Times (London), which later merged with the Illustrated London News. Cartoons come from Punch, a London magazine. The site also includes the full text of an 1847 travel narrative: Narrative of a Journey From Oxford To Skibberdean During the Year of the Irish Famine, by Lord Dufferin and the Hon. G. G. Boyle. Since the site includes little historical contextualization, students are able to determine for themselves the causes of and responses to the famine and the ways in which it changed Irish society. A particularly interesting issue that these materials raise is whether or not Britain’s delayed response in providing material aid furthered Irish suffering. The site includes a master list of all illustrations grouped by subject, and allows for browsing by date and article title, but does not provide a search function.

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