Monday, April 08, 2019

an Gorta Mór

Rattling the pots and pans in the kitchen last night after I got back from Cardiff, I commanded "Alexa, play In Our Time" so I could catch up with whatever Melvyn Bragg and chums had been discussing last Thursday. It was The Great Irish Famine.

The Great Famine (Irish: an Gorta Mór, [anˠ ˈgɔɾˠt̪ˠa mˠoːɾˠ]), or the Great Hunger, was a period in Ireland between 1845 and 1849 of mass starvation, disease, and emigration. With the most severely affected areas in the west and south of Ireland, where the Irish language was primarily spoken, the period was contemporaneously known in Irish as An Drochshaol, loosely translated as the "hard times" (or literally, "The Bad Life"). The worst year of the period, that of "Black 47", is known in Irish as Bliain an Drochshaoil. During the famine, about one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland,] causing the island's population to fall by between 20% and 25%
From what little I have managed to do with my family tree on the Ancestry site I can see that on my mother's side I have great, great, great grandparents James and Margaret Brian; born 1826 and about 1831 respectively in Ireland. Their daughter (also Margaret) was born around 1856 in Cardiff and married William Milton (who was born in 1850 in Somerset). That is where my mum's maiden name comes from.

On his father's side Dad's great grandfather James McDonnell was born in 1831 in Ireland, then married Joanna Griffin who was born in Cardiff. On his mother's side great grandparents Michael McDonald and Joanna Driscoll were both born in Ireland between 1841 and 1845, but their son Michael was born in Cardiff in 1874.

All lived through and fled the Great Hunger I shouldn't be surprised; babes in arms, children, teens, or barely adults.

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