10o - Ireland And Scotland Overview - Potato Famine And The Clearances

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  • Overview of English relations with Scotland and Ireland since 1066
  • The Highland Clearances
  • Irish Potato Famine
  • Irish Land War and subsequent land reform

songs, poems, quotes and stories

  • tbc

washing line

  • 1845 - 1852 Irish Potato Famine
  • 1870-1890 Irish Land War
  • 1870 - Irish Land Act - cannot be evicted if paying rent
  • 1881 - 2nd Irish Land Act - land commission decide a fair rent
  • 1885 – Irish Land Purchase Act
  • 1903 & 1908 more land acts building on the above
  • 1800-1850 - The Highland Clearances

Sample Text


it took normans 10 years to conquor england, then another 100 years to conquor ireland

mean while up in scotland the border was fluxuating back and forth which resulted in headaches for the poor people of Berwick

the 100 year war with france diverted attention away from ireland and scotland allowing the irish to regain power in many parts of ireland and the scottish to nudge the border back down south a bit.

in tudor times ireland became much more interesting for the ruling classes as england was running out of wood for making ships and there was a bit of an arms race going on with this spanish at the time (see spanish armada - we get taught this as we won)

Elizabeth I dies without sprogs - and James VI of Scotland is invited down to become james I of england begins the process which sees England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales "united"

English Civil War, once Parliament has won defeating the King and Royalists, they suddenely find themselves with large bills to pay especially to the soldiers. they get around paying these debts by sending the soldiers over to ireland, knowing that many of them will get killed in the process and any who survive are told to take irish land as payment for their soldiering

During the parliamentary enclosures, token efforts were made to acknowledge the loss of rights by commoners. These was either in small cash payments or in small patches of land. Sadly this compensation was no way near enough to match the lost rights. these included grazing, forraging for fuel and food and land for growing crops on. as a result of this many people had to sell the small patches of land they were given to the local large land owner and move into the towns and cities.

in scotland no such acknowledgment of lost rights or attempts to compensate people were made. instead families were brutally kicked out of their ancestral homes, treated worse than animals.

the process happened far later in scotland than in england as the farm land was poor and sheep could not cope with the climate but this changed when a new breed of sheep called the cheviot arrived which was happy with the scottish climate.

often agents representing large land owners would give people 24hrs notice of eviction and then come back and burn down their houses the following day. there are noted occasions when they burnt down houses which contained eldery or ill people refusing to move. in many villages the men were away working down south and when the women resisted evictions they were beating resulting in many deaths.

the highland clearances are a hideous stain on our country and one which is really not that long ago. if scotland did become an independent country today it would have the highest concentration of land in the hands of the least number of people of anywhere in the world.

over in ireland, people were not cleared from the land as their labour was needed but instead were forced onto smaller and smaller patches of land. by this time the potato had become the staple food as it required the least amount of ground to grow on and the ruling classes had calculated exactly how much land a family to survive on if they only ate potatoes... children would get 3-4 potatoes a day, women 6-8 potatoes and the men 10-11 potatoes...

so when the potato crop failed when blight first hit Ireland it was devastating for the people there. but this was not a famine in the traditional sense of the word as all the other crops and livestock were just fine, but people were so poor they could not afford to buy any food and the english lord in charge of famine relief decided that it was gods will that the crops had failed and therefore did nothing to help the starving over a million of whom died.

the irish who didn't die or emigrate...

-more here-

By 1921 two thirds of the land in Ireland had become the property of Irish tenants, and a compulsory law transferred the remaining portions soon after the establishment (1922) of the Irish Free State.