Commemorating the 175th anniversary of Black ‘47
Historians of the Great Famine have long lamented the lack of local research reflected in the paucity of regional studies and how areas well served by local historians confirmed the popular impression that the crisis was less severe in other unresearched areas. The reality is that the Great Famine, most notably north Connaught – especially north Mayo and west Sligo, effectively Killala diocese – was just as severe as places like Skibbereen but that story has yet to be told.
Ocras, The Great Famine in Killala Diocese, 1845 – 1852), is a general history which explores life in the diocese in the years leading up to 1845 – the memory of want, how people lived, the lives of priests and the optimistic ‘joyous prospects’ of the year 1844. It traces the twists and turns of each of the eight years from the coming of the blight in 1845 through the consequent trail of devastation it left in its wake, as well as accounts of evictions, the impact of the ‘Second Reformation’ – a calculated and determined effort to convert Catholics to Protestantism – and the desperate efforts to keep people alive as thousands perished from starvation and the fever in the three baronies of Erris and Tyrawley in Mayo and Tireragh in Sligo.