The Great Irish Famine and Famine Today

An activity-based Education pack for Junior Certificate and Transition Year Students.


Famine has deep resonance in Ireland and in many Third World Countries especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Its scale, impact, causes and the human stories that haunt it have much in common. This resource was written and published to explore commonalities and differences in the realities of famine in Ireland and internationally.

The Great Irish Famine of the 1840s has long been regarded as the single greatest social disaster of 19th century Europe. Between 1845 and 1850, when blight devastated the potato crop, in excess of two million people (almost one-quarter of the entire population) either died or emigrated.

The famine of 1983 to 1985 in Ethiopia is considered to be its 20th century equivalent.

Source: The National Famine Museum, Strokestown and Trócaire

Date: 1996