Monthly Archives: November 2010

Cattle Bleeding And Other Desperate Measures

  In response to a reader’s question, the following expounds on the Famine-era practice of bleeding cattle described in the novel. Under cover of darkness, those in want would make their way to the field of a landlord or well-off … Continue reading

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A History of Paternalism?

With all the EU emphasis in past years on bailing out the Irish economy, the helping hand offered seems like paternalism – part of a pattern.  Although the Irish refused to be conquered despite 800 years of British rule and refused to … Continue reading

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Rosary Societies – a spiritual Internet

  Shrine to Mary, County Sligo, Ireland I touch briefly on the history of the Rosary in a forthcoming novel, but post this in response to a reader’s question. Prior to beads, rosary books were used – pictorial manuals that depicted … Continue reading

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Embedded Witness: The Story of Vere Foster

Glyde Court, County Louth, ancestral home of Vere Foster; the house is now in ruins. By 1847, there was no shortage of press reports and first-hand accounts of the horrors experienced by emigrants taking ship from England or Ireland to … Continue reading

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Revisionist Irish History and the Famine

Although many Irish historians suffered from a sort of collective amnesia for the better part of the last century with respect to the Famine, the pendulum has now swung the other way.  In the past twenty years or so there … Continue reading

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Pre-Famine Life For Catholic Tenants

Irish Peat Bogs When the Famine struck, 1/2 of all Irish holdings were well below 8 acres for a family, this being the bare minimum which was considered economically viable.  (Bear in mind that only 76% of the land was arable … Continue reading

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