The Great Famine was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1852. During the famine Ireland's population dropped by 20–25 percent, one million people died, and a million more emigrated from the island. The proximate cause of the famine was a potato disease commonly known as potato blight. The blight was so devastating because one third of the Irish population was entirely dependent on the potato for food.
Coffin Ship Memorial,Co Mayo Ireland, bronze sculpture located National Famine Memorial, 'Coffin Ship', Westport, Croagh Patrick, Co Mayo, Ireland, Sculpture by John Belan commemorating the anniversary of the Irish Famine.
One of the many tragic ironies of famine stricken Ireland is that as people died of starvation, thousands of tons of grain that could have saved them was instead shipped out of the country. How could such a seemingly perverse and inhuman policy be allowed to continue?
Beginning in the 1700's, the Irish were evicted by greedy landlords, which were primarily English, living in England. Once the famine began, the evictions became rampant, leaving the Irish homeless in their own land.