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Stories of the Famine

Welcome to the Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum of Fairfield’s collection of personal stories and firsthand accounts from the Great Hunger. 


In this section, we are proud to present a series of narratives that bring to life the experiences of individuals and communities from every county in Ireland during this tragic period in history. Each story has been meticulously researched and written by our own Loretto Leary, who has delved into historical records, letters, and diaries to uncover the voices of those who endured the famine. Through these accounts, we aim to honor the memory of the millions who suffered, celebrate the resilience of the human spirit, and draw lessons for our present and future.  


We invite you to explore these stories, reflect on the personal and collective struggles of the past, and join us in commemorating the enduring legacy of the Irish people.

Nothing but the Bones: Co. Galway in the Years of the Famine
By Loretto Leary
March 20, 2024

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When Catherine Houlihan deposited $100 into her bank account on May 10, 1854, she had lived on Ward’s Island in New York for over three years. Her parents, Owen and Ann, still resided in Drumscar, Gortanumera, just a short distance from Portumna in County Galway. By 1854, Catherine had already seen the worst effects of the Famine. In her new home in America, she would help alleviate the pain and suffering of others.

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God Alone Can See the End ~ County Leitrim During The Great Hunger
By Loretto Leary
February 25, 2024

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“In 1841, Leitrim had 155,297 people; over the next ten years, the county lost 43,400 people; by 1871, it lost a further 16,335. And the decline continued steadily until 1996 when it reached just over 25,000.”

How Mohill and Co Leitrim emerged from the Great Famine
Fiona Slevin, 2020

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