Black 47: Mortality in Skibbereen

30th January 1847
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In the entire period of the Great Famine in Ireland (1845-1851) the most dramatic population decrease from death and emigration occurred in "Black '47".

THE former accounts of the ravages of disease at Skibbereen continue to be but too sadly confirmed. From a drawing made on the spot, we give a sketch of a scene of no unusual occurrence, as appears from the following extract of a letter, received by Mr Blake, of Cork, from Dr Crowley, of Skibbereen, dated Jan. 22: –

“Deaths here are daily increasing. Dr Donovan and I are, just this moment, after returning from the village of South Reen, where we had to bury a body ourselves that was eleven days dead; and where do you think? In a kitchen garden. We had to dig the ground, or rather the hole, ourselves; no one would come near us, the smell was so intolerable. We are half-dead from the work lately imposed on us.”

SOURCE The Illustrated London News 30 Jan 1847


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