Irish Nationalism Eireann go brach! Mrs. Kempton & Mr. Patten Mepham High School Global History II Facts about Ireland Ireland (Eire) Capital: Dublin Major Languages: Gaelic and English Population: 3,969,558 Area: 27,135 sq mi (70,280 sq. km) half the size of Arkansas Type of Government: Republic Agricultural Products: turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat, livestock, dairy goods Leading Export: Machinery Languages Gaelic Ireland has a rich literary history that reaches back more than two thousand years. The Irish kept these works alive by passing them down orally from generation to generation. The use of Gaelic declined after British conquest in the 1600s. The Great Famine threatened to silence their voices through death and emigration. Yet Gaelic—a triumph of Irish culture— survived the destruction. Land Use and Resources History of Conflict The British ruled Ireland since 1100s. Since then there has always been tension between Ireland and England. Why? High Rent to English lords High Taxes Religious conflicts (Irish are Catholic vs. English are Protestant) Nationalism inspired the Irish to revolt because of the desire for self-determination. The Potato Peasants learned that potatoes produced more food per acre than other food crops. Plus they provided a healthy, easy-to-grow food. Finally, when armies marched through the Irish countryside, they did not destroy potato crops-it took too long to dig up the potato hills. A peasant family preparing to eat a dinner of boiled potatoes Pictorial Times February 28, 1846 With better diets, the population grew to more than eight million by the early 1840s. The Famine Irish Peasant Taking Potatoes to Market The Pictorial Times February 28, 1846 However, in 1845 a disease started killing potato crops. A few days after farmers dug up potato hills, the potato piles started to rot, turning into mounds of dark smelly slime. The disease spread far and wide, infecting potato fields throughout Ireland. Because potatoes formed the basis of the Irish diet, people began to starve or die of fever from weak health. Prices of other food items, like grains, shot up. The already poor farmers, who now lacked income from the sale of potatoes, could not even afford to buy corn. Landlords evicted them from their homes. The Irish Potato Famine, or Great Famine, lasted for about five years. About 1,100,000 people died of famine-related causes. The Irish Famine Source 1 Illustrated London News, Oct. 18, 1845 THE POTATO DISEASE…. Accounts received from different parts of Ireland show that the disease in the potato crop is extending far and wide, and causing great alarm amongst the peasantry. Letters from resident landlords feelingly describe the misery and . . . urge the . . . necessity of speedy intervention on the part of the Government. . . . Mr. John Chester, . . . in a letter to the Dublin Evening Post, states that he has a field of twenty acres of potatoes, which . . . had been perfectly dry and sound, when they were attacked by the blight, and three-fourths of them are so diseased and rotten that pigs decline to eat them. The Irish Famine After the Ejectment Illustrated London News December 16, 1848 Illustrated London News, Dec. 16, 1848 EVICTIONS OF PEASANTRY IN IRELAND. . . Each succeeding day witnesses . . . the fearful system of wholesale ejectment, of which we daily hear, and which we daily behold. . . . Whole districts are cleared. . . . The ditch side, the dripping rain, and the cold sleet are the covering of the wretched outcast the moment the cabin is tumbled over him; for who dare give him shelter or protection from "the pelting of the pitiless storm?" The Struggle for Self-Rule The Prime Minister of England (Gladstone) makes some reforms in Ireland. Ends taxes to the Anglican Church Protection against unfair rents In 1919, civil war breaks out between the Irish Republican Army and the British. Southern Ireland becomes independent in 1922. Northern Ireland still remains under British control and even today there still remains tension. An Irish Blessing May you always have work for your hands to do. May your pockets hold always a coin or two. May the sun shine bright on your windowpane. May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain. May the hand of a friend always be near you. And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.