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Snippet of the Irish History Podcast: St Patrick's Day in Black '47 | The Great Famine XX

Last Played: March 16, 2021
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This snippet offers the beginning of the history of St. Patrick's day in 19th century Dublin. Ireland at the time was ravaged by famine. and thousands of starving Irish poured into the city, while the rich celebrated in style—stoking class tension to a fever pitch. This snapshot of history may cast modern-day St. Patrick's day celebrations in a new light.
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Now we're off to ST Patrick's Day in Black 47. I kick off with a look at what ST Patrick's Day was like in the 19th century. Then I focus on life in Dublin in 18 47 before we hone in on the day itself. March 17th, 18 40 seven March 17th. ST. Patrick's Day has been celebrated as Ireland's national holiday for centuries. While it would later become heavily associated with Irish independence in particular in the early 19th century it was celebrated by all sections of Irish society, regardless of their political affiliations. Even the British army garrisons stationed on the island mark the day. While these 19th century celebrations did not match modern parades for size, color and entertainment, the day was still regarded as a great spectacle. In 18 26 an English visitor who had been in Dublin for Saint Patrick's Day festivities was heavily impressed. They would later tell a friend that Patrick's Day in Dublin is a scene of festivity in mirth unequaled by anything observable in England. However, everything changed in the late 18 forties as famine gripped Ireland. Money had nothing to celebrate. By 18 47 the great hunger was reaching catastrophic levels. Hundreds of thousands had already perished from hunger and disease. The future for hundreds of thousands more hung in the balance. They had no food or hope marking. ST Patrick's Day was the last thing on their minds. The American travel writer and Senate. Nicholson captured the prevailing mood among those at risk from famine. Writing from the Mayo town of Castle Bar in the late 18 forties, she found what was a subdued mood on ST Patrick's Day. Nicholson would later recall the mirth of the land has emphatically ceased. The spirit has broken every effort. That conviviality appears, as if making a last struggle for life. The shamrock was sprinkled here and there upon a hat, but like it's where seemed drooping as being conscious that it's Bloom was scathing and its beauty dying forever. This account is what we might expect, however. Ireland was a very divided country and answer math. Nicholson was only articulating the perspective of those suffering from famine during the year known as Black 47 ST Patrick's Day revealed that there was, if anything, to a very different Ireland's existing side by side. One was on its knees facing starvation. This was the Ireland Antonetti Nicholson was writing about. However, there were also those in society unaffected by famine, who continued to spend money lavishly, almost as if nothing was happening. This was evident in Dublin, in particular on ST Patrick's Day. Before we look at the day itself, I will explain a little bit about how Dublin had fared during the great famine. Up until 18 47 the city in Dublin endured a very atypical experience of the Great famine, while the population of most counties fell sharply. The opposite was the case in Dublin, however, while the population grew this masked, terrible suffering among the city poor, huge numbers of people were flocking to the capital, some in search of work, others hoping to emigrate and escaped the famine. But in Dublin, they only found more poverty. They packed into the already crowded city slums, where they lived in horrific conditions. By 18 47 Dublin's institutions, such as the prisons and workhouses, were overflowing. Death rates were soaring. This was surely no city for celebrations on ST Patrick's Day, people had other concerns, such as their very survival. As you will see this was true of some, but not all, Dubliners. While the city poor face the gauntlet of starvation and disease, the great hunger did not affect everyone. If you could afford it, there was plenty of food to be had in Dublin. Generally speaking, the wealth in the city were by and large and affected. They did, of course, run the risk of contracting disease. But the rich who did, or comparatively few in number therefore somewhat perversely, those unaffected by the famine were unwilling to let ST Patrick's. They pass off without the usual festivities in 18 47. And while one half of the city starved, the other planned a party mhm.
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