Charity and the Great Hunger in Ireland: The Kindness of Strangers

The Great Irish Famine was one of the most devastating humanitarian disasters of the nineteenth century. In a period of only five years, Ireland lost approximately 25% of its population through a combination of death and emigration. How could such a tragedy have occurred at the heart of the vast, and resource-rich, British Empire? Charity and the Great Hunger in Ireland explores this question by focusing on a particular, and lesser-known, aspect of the Famine: that being the extent to which people throughout the world mobilized to provide money, food and clothing to assist the starving Irish. This book considers how, helped by developments in transport and communications, newspapers throughout the world reported on the suffering in Ireland, prompting funds to be raised globally on an unprecedented scale. Donations came from as far away as Australia, China, India and South America and contributors emerged from across the various religious, ethnic, social and gender divides. Charity and the Great Hunger in Ireland traces the story of this international aid effort and uses it to reveal previously unconsidered elements in the history of the Famine in Ireland.