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Ireland: A New Economic History 1780–1939$
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Cormac Gráda Ó

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205982

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205982.001.0001

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‘An Gorta Mór’: The Great Famine, 1845–50

‘An Gorta Mór’: The Great Famine, 1845–50

(p.173) 8 ‘An Gorta Mór’: The Great Famine, 1845–50
Ireland: A New Economic History 1780–1939

Cormac Ó Gráda

Oxford University Press

Secondary references to Ireland's ‘Great Hunger’ or ‘Great Starvation’ are ubiquitous. The tragedy is still vividly etched in Irish and Irish-American folk memory, and a popular understanding of the Great Famine has become the stuff of history and even economics textbooks far and near. The long-term political consequences of that disaster in Ireland and among those of Irish descent further a field partly explain this interest, but it is also a reflection of the lateness of the Irish Famine by West European standards and, even more important, its context: the back garden of what would soon be dubbed the ‘workshop of the world’. This chapter offers a narrative account of the Great Famine, focusing largely on its impact on demography and economy. It summarizes and reassesses recent literature on mortality and discusses the impact of political economy on relief policy. It also assesses food entitlements and famine-induced increase in criminality.

Keywords:   Ireland, Great Famine, mortality, demography, political economy, relief policy, food entitlements, criminality

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