Report on the Potato Epidemic, Boyle, Sligo and beyond

4th November 1845
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THE POTATO EPIDEMIC—LATEST INTELLIGENCE | The Freeman's Journal The following letters on the potato disease from authoritative and respected sources, we deem it our duty to lay before the Irish public. It will be seen that they are written from widely separated districts, and bear the most recent dates:

Ballyfarnon, Boyle, County Roscommon,1st  November 1845.

" I deeply regret to say that our fears with respect to the safety of the potato crop seem likely to be realised. It is a decided but a melancholy fact that the disease appears to be rapidly progressing; and unless by some merciful intervention of Divine Providence, I greatly fear our unfortunate people will experience a dreadful visitation."

Riverstown, County Sligo, 1st November 1845.

"The spread of the disease in this parish is of a very melancholy and distressing extent."

Freshford, County Kilkenny Nov. 1st, 1845.

The disease of the potato crop in this neighbourhood is generally speaking confined to the whole potato called the Lumper, and this bad kind of potato has nearly superseded all others, because they say it will grow and produce better in bad ground and require less manure than any other and of course the cup, the reds, and the apple, are rather A RARE sowing with farmers ; but anywhere they are useless in cold mountainy lea, they may be and are considered as yet safe, but as I have already noticed, such potatoes are very scarce.

Killeroran, Tuam, County Galway Nov. 2nd, 1815.

"I hasten to give you all the information I can with respect to the potato crop. In this locality, and as far as I can ascertain, all over Connaught tho people dread very much they cannot preserve the seed. It is my own opinion, from all I can see and hear Unless the Almighty God in His mercy puts a stop to the rapid progress the disease is making that the people will not have seed to sow. It is frightful to contemplate what the condition of the people will be if the government do not take immediate steps to keep the grain in Ireland, at least until January next. It is only then it can be ascertained how much of the potato crop will be safe; the people who dug their potatoes as they thought safe and sound, and put them in pits, in the course of a few days on examination found one-third bad."

Dunboyne, Clonee, Co. Meath 2nd November 1845

"With regard to the condition of the potato crop in this parish, l regret to have to state that almost everyone I speak to on the matter tells me that their crop is more or less damaged. Among the many remedies presented that which scorns to toll best is keeping them dry. While they are kept so exposed to the air the disease seems to be arrested, but I fear when a change of weather takes place, and the farmers are obliged to cover them up in the usual way or bring them into the houses, the rot will rapidly set in. I think there is a natural decline coming upon them, and that they will not be much longer cultivated in Ireland."

Blessington, Co. Wicklow Nov. 2.

"I have given the matter my serious attention, and made numerous enquiries from almost every farmer in my parish, which comprises a large portion of the counties of Wicklow and Kildare, as to the extent of this epidemic or rot in the potato crop, and I can most emphatically assure you, without the least fear of contradiction from any quarter, that the result of my prolonged investigation and scrutiny has been, I am grieved to tell you, though no farmer myself and not very conversant in agricultural pursuits, one third part, and in many places one-half of the general crop of potatoes in my locality, at least, has perished, and I am persuaded that the same horrific and alarming truth of the spread of the epidemic or distemper in the potato crop in general."       [SOURCE: Freeman's Journal - 4 November 1845]

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Comments

  • Just a query.  Has there been a typo with the entry from Killeroran, Tuam?  It is showing as 1815 but I suspect it should also be 1845.  Such sad times.

    Robyn Booth

    Tuesday 23rd July 2019, 02:44AM