Skibbereen During the Potato Famine

  • When the Duke of Wellington visited Skibbereen. . . he discovered “six famished and ghastly skeletons, to all appearances dead, huddled in a corner, their sole covering what seemed to be a ragged horse cloth, and their wretched legs hanging about, naked above the knees. I approached in horror and found by a low moaning that they were alive, they were in fever — four children, a woman and what had once been a man . . . In a few minutes I was surrounded by at least 200 of such phantoms, such frightful spectres as no words can describe. By far the greater number were delirious either from famine or fever . . . Within 500 yards of the Calvary Station at Skibbereen, the dispensary doctor found seven wretches lying, unable to move, under the same cloak — one had been dead many hours, but the others were unable to move, either themselves or the corpse.” — p. 112, The Reason Why

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