The Great Famine

2 Dec

Before I came to Ireland, I knew very little about the Great Famine that lasted from 1845 to 1852. During that seven year period, over a million people died, and the Irish population was a quarter of what it was before, due to both death and emigration. It amazes me that in an advanced European country, there were people starving to death. I find it very difficult how it must feel to starve to death, because I’ve been lucky enough to not need to worry about food in my lifetime. One of the things that helped me to understand a little was the song “The Fields of Athenry.” The character, Michael, was arrested and jailed for stealing some corn “so the young might see the morn.” Another line that really touched me was thinking about the more than one million people that “had dreams and songs to sing,” but couldn’t because they starved to death. The next verse tells of a man who was protesting the British for not providing enough relief for the starving population. He was jailed for this, and his wife was told to “raise our child with dignity.” This song helped me to slightly understand the difficulties and the pain that the people went through during the Great Famine. 


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