In an upstairs window of the Irish president’s official residence, one lamp flickers constantly. Lit by President Mary Robinson in 1990, it is a beacon to light the way home for the millions of descendants of the Irish who left their homeland over the centuries. (Ireland’s population peaked at more than eight million people in around 1840 and hasn’t yet recovered almost two centuries later.)This paragraph led me to the Irish population analysis article in Wikipedia, and more specifically to the figures for my DNA's home county Cork.
There were 854,000 people there in 1841, but only 542,000 in 2016 the last year for which we have figures.
To my surprise the lowest population figure was 330,000 in 1961 the year I was born; half a million less than a hundred and twenty years earlier. Constant decline to 1961 and a gradual recovery since, so it wasn't just the Potato Famine that was responsible.
If I ever get to Cork I must try and get along to the Ballymaloe Cookery School.
I realise it is a bit crass to note this after a paragraph that referred to a famine, over the course of which about one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland. I will go to Skibbereen as well.