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The initial efforts to alleviate the problems brought on by the failure of the potato crop were slow to be organised.

How the Great Famine affected Irish women

As was mentioned earlier, it was not unusual to have a potato crop fail. People lived on their reserves and shared with those that were better of. Many of them had also eaten their seed potatoes, therefore depriving themselves of their next harvest as well, but as the years went on and the crops kept on failing the world slowly became aware of the plight of the Irish people. The British government's reaction at first was slow and some members also suggested that the problem was in Ireland and should be left to sort out or let it run its course despite the fact that other crops continued to be produced and exported while the people were dying.

To make matters even worse, some landlords began to evict those tenants who could not pay their rent, sending them wandering aimlessly from town to town in the search of food.

The town of Skibbereen located in the West Cork region was particularly affected to the extent that it became the rallying point for international efforts to help out. The United States who despite being at war with Mexico at the time, dispatched two warships the Jamestown and the Macedonian laden with supplies to assist the starving population.

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Eventually groups such as the Quakers, set up soup kitchens in order to try to save the population. Another attempt by the government to get the most out of the already starving and disease ridden Irish was to establish Work houses for the starving.

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    The Great Famine. The lack of potatoes was devastating, but to say that this brought about a population loss of over 3 million is to make a vast over-simplification. This, combined with the shocking regulations and lack of aid put in place by the British government during the Great Hunger , shows that it was not simply just the potato blight that caused such tragedy and chaos. How do you think this period in Irish history should be referred to?

    The Potato Famine?

    Great Famine (Ireland) - Wikipedia

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