Local history project by pupils of St. Patrick's B.N.S, Castlebar


What does the word 'famine' mean?


The word 'famine' comes from Latin and means hunger or shortage of food. In Irish it is called 'An Gorta Mór' which means 'the big hunger'.


What causes famine? Famine generally affects a large number of people. It can be caused by drought, floods, earthquakes or insect plagues but it is mostly caused by blight.  The immediate consequences are weight loss in adults and growth problems in children. Irish people in the 18th century ate mostly potatoes so when they got blighted many had nothing else to eat and starved to death or left Ireland altogether.


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What causes blight?

Blight attacks the plant and kills it.