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Dublin and the Great Irish Famine

An illumination of how nineteenth-century Dublin experienced and endured the Great Irish Famine.
Dublin did not escape Ireland’s mid-nineteenth-century Great Famine: many of its inhabitants experienced acute poverty and illness, and the city witnessed an influx of rural poor seeking refuge and relief. However, popular and scholarly narratives of the Famine have largely overlooked Dublin. This collection of essays breaks new ground in reconsidering the Famine and its historiography by focusing solely on Dublin and its inhabitants. The thirteen contributors provide an interdisciplinary range of perspectives on such diverse topics as business life and industry in Dublin, the impact of the Famine on the city’s charity and welfare landscapes, suicide and trauma during this time of acute crisis, the experiences of marginalized populations in prisons and hospitals, and cultural representations of Famine-era Dublin. The book examines both direct and indirect impacts of the Famine on the city, noting promising future areas of research, and arguing for the reinvigoration of urban histories with Famine studies. Dublin and the Great Irish Famine illuminates an overlooked but essential dimension of Irish history.

250 pages | 8 color plates, 8 halftones | 7 x 9 3/4 | © 2022

History: British and Irish History, European History, History of Ideas

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations

Emily Mark-FitzGerald, Ciarán McCabe and Ciarán Reilly, Introduction: Dublin and the Great Irish Famine
Cormac Ó Gráda, Dublin and the Great Famine: An Overview

SECTION I: Business Life and Industry
1. Ciarán Reilly: ‘A Little London, All Alive’: Some Experiences of the World of Goods and Commodities in Famine Dublin
2. Declan Curran: ‘Ad Libitum Banking’?: Dublin’s Role within the Famine-Era Irish Banking System
3. Peter Hession: Taming the Channel: Technology, Liberalism and the Irish Sea, c.1845–52

SECTION II: Charity and Philanthropy
4. Joe Curran: ‘The Metropolis of the Poor’: Charity and Perceptions of Dublin on the Eve of the Great Famine
5. Ciarán McCabe: The Impact of the Great Famine on Voluntary Charitable Societies in Dublin City
6. Rob Goodbody: Quakers and the Famine in Dublin

SECTION III: Institutions, Healthcare and Mortality
7. Philomena Gorey: Childbirth and Maternity in Dublin, 1831–56
8. Georgina Laragy: ‘Items in the Sum of that Great Calamity’: Suicide in Dublin during the Great Famine
9. Brian Crowley: ‘That They Might Obtain the Shelter of a Prison’: Kilmainham Gaol and the Great Famine

SECTION IV: The Famine in Cultural History
10. Christopher Cusack: Dublin Fictions and the Economics of Famine Memory
11. Kathryn Milligan: ‘A Very Ready Sale’: Exhibiting, Viewing and Selling Art in Dublin, 1845–49
12. Emily Mark-FitzGerald: Epilogue: Famine Memory and the City


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