Difficult Times

Upload to this page

Add your photos, text, videos, etc. to this page.

In 1815, Britain's war against Napoleon ended. This was bad news for Cork because the British navy no longer needed as many supplies. Irish business also faced competition from England. Cloth-making and food industries suffered greatly, and many people lost their jobs.

Even when business was booming during the 1700s, there were still many poor people in the city. There were food shortages causing food riots and there are records of social problems like violence and drunkenness among the poor. These problems continued and worsened, particularly during the Great Famine.

The Great Famine (1845-49) occurred when the potato crops were destroyed by blight. Starving people from the countryside flocked into the city looking for help.

So many died of starvation and disease that the cemeteries couldn't cope, and a new cemetery was opened at Carr's Hill.

By 1850 the worst of the famine was over, but by then thousands of people from Cork had died and thousands more had emigrated to America to look for a better life.

The population of Ireland fell greatly in this period, both through emigration and death.

Do You Know?

Do you know any stories about the Famine in your locality? Visit your local library to find out more. Are you aware if any members of your family emigrated to America? Members of your family may be able to help you.

A Famous Priest

Father Mathew was a famous priest who helped the poor in Cork in the nineteenth century. He set up a soup kitchen to help the starving. He also campaigned against alcoholic drinks.