This collection of essays offers diverse perspectives on the impact of the Great Famine in Ireland, with particular focus on the experience in the province of Ulster – much neglected in histories, but which prompted the political geography and sectarian divisions that persisted into the twentieth century.
Edited by Patrick Fitzgerald and Anthony Russell, John Mitchel, Ulster and the Great Irish Famine delves into the immeasurable impact of starvation, illness, and emigration on Irish society and the diaspora. The use of relatively neglected sources shines a vital new light on the experience of Famine migrants entering British North America; John Mitchel, the controversial, international, renowned thinker, is similarly examined in both Old and New World environments. It was Mitchel, more than any other writer or politician, who created the nationalist perception of the Great Famine; a perception which suited the political objectives of both communities in Ulster.
Through history, geography, literary studies, demography, folklore, biography, and local and family studies, the contributors address new questions and prompt fresh debates. John Mitchel, Ulster and the Great Irish Famine expands upon this epochal moment in Irish history – a legacy previously unwritten.
Table of Contents
1. The Women of Belfast and the Great Famine ~ Christine Kinealy
2. The Demography of the Famine in Ulster ~ Cormac Ó Gráda
3. The Famine Irish Migration to Canada in 1847–48 ~ Jason King
4. John Mitchel’s Town, its Hinterland and the Great Famine ~ Anthony Russell
5. John Mitchel: Famine, Slavery and Agrarian Politics ~ James Quinn
6. What Can Folklore Tell Us About The Great Famine That Other Documents Cannot? ~
7. ‘Remembrances of Love and Duty’: Famine Remittances to Ireland during the 1840s
~ Ciarán Reilly
8. Different Writers, Different Perspectives
8.1 Seven Famines: A Hidden Heritage of Hunger ~ Paddy Fitzgerald
8.2 From a Personal Journey to National Commemoration ~ Michael Blanch
8.3 Mitchel and Slavery: A Biblical Perspective ~ Nigel Agnew
8.4 Newry Workhouse ~ Hugh McShane
8.5 The Irish National Famine Museum: Strokestown Park ~ John O’Driscoll
8.6 An Australian Famine Family ~ Lyn McLeavy
About the Editors
Patrick Fitzgerald is Lecturer at the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies, Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh and has taught Migration History at postgraduate level with Queen’s University Belfast for the past two decades. He is joint author (with Brian Lambkin) of Migration in Irish History, 1607–2007 (2008) and acted as consultant to the television documentary series The Irish Empire and On Eagle’s Wing.
Anthony Russell is a retired academic, Anglia Ruskin University, who has worked on higher education projects from Denmark to Burma. An historical geographer, he was academic consultant to Dundalk Institute of Technology’s Borderlands degree and World Education’s Global Border Studies, in refugee camps on the Thai Myanmar border. Working with Bytown Museum, Ottawa, he is the creator and director of the exhibition ‘Thomas D’Arcy McGee: Irish Rebel – Canadian Patriot’. He is the author of Between Two Flags: John Miitchel and Jenny Verner (Merrion Press, 2015). His play The Trial of P. H. Pearse in the Court of History which has been performed in Canada and at Féile an Phobail 2017, on both the Falls and Shankill Roads.