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Thread: The Land after the Great Hunger

  1. #1

    Default The Land after the Great Hunger

    What became of the land of the small tenant farmers after the Great Hunger.

    What became of the big land owners when they lost thousands of rent payers, did many of them leave as well.

    Did anybody in Ireland gain from the Great Hunger?
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  2. #2
    SeamusNapoleon
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    You could say - in very broad terms - that a huge swathe of the midlands, from Meath to East Galway became one big, ****************************** off giant ranch that fed the British Army.

    So I guess some people did surely benefit, aye.
    Consolidation consolidation, consolidation.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molly Maguire View Post
    What became of the land of the small tenant farmers after the Great Hunger.

    What became of the big land owners when they lost thousands of rent payers, did many of them leave as well.

    Did anybody in Ireland gain from the Great Hunger?
    If you take it to its logical conclusion and look at where we are today, I think you will get the answer you crave.

  4. #4

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    Just wondered if there was any attempts at nationalising the land, even locally, in the aftermath of the GH.
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    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if anybody has specifically looked at what happened to the land owning class after the Famine - beginning of the end for many of them from what I have read. They were hammered by Westminster - one might even say scapegoated - and many were ruined financially. various land measures were introduced, covered in passing in by Mansergh in his excellent "The Irish Question 1840-1921".

  6. #6

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    Surprising even today, a 160 years later, how cagey many of the farming community still are when the subject of land ownership comes up even at a personal level.

    The Land League comes across more and more to me like the "Right to Buy" scheme for council house tenants.
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  7. #7
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    Well the larger tenant farmers certainly benefitted. They (as well as the landlords) were subletting their share of land out to the labourers as conacre in return for their labour services. Of course, this took up some of their acreage. When they discovered that herding as opposed to cultivation required was much less labour intensive, such provisions were superfluous. The conacre was returned to their larger holding, and the labourer was tossed out on his ear. If he was lucky he could live in the towns, from where he would be called periodically to do minor labour services for different landlords (such as haysaving etc). Of course it was the larger tenant farmer, not the labourer whose class was destroyed during the famine, to gained the benefit of the subsequent landlord acts, which granted him fixity of tenure, free rent, and eventually absolute ownership, pending a small annuity. This class exploited British guilt over the famine to advance themselves, again at the expense of the labourer, when it could be argued they were primarily responsible for the famine in the first place.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riadach View Post
    Well the larger tenant farmers certainly benefitted. They (as well as the landlords) were subletting their share of land out to the labourers as conacre in return for their labour services. Of course, this took up some of their acreage. When they discovered that herding as opposed to cultivation required was much less labour intensive, such provisions were superfluous. The conacre was returned to their larger holding, and the labourer was tossed out on his ear. If he was lucky he could live in the towns, from where he would be called periodically to do minor labour services for different landlords (such as haysaving etc). Of course it was the larger tenant farmer, not the labourer whose class was destroyed during the famine, to gained the benefit of the subsequent landlord acts, which granted him fixity of tenure, free rent, and eventually absolute ownership, pending a small annuity. This class exploited British guilt over the famine to advance themselves, again at the expense of the labourer, when it could be argued they were primarily responsible for the famine in the first place.
    Thanks for that.

    So i,d guess at a local level across Ireland there must have existed those who were in a position to watch with a beady eye their neighbours land as the said neighbours went under, ready and waiting to step in and snatch the acreage.

    Often wondered what the exiled urban poor thought of the Land League.
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  9. #9
    Politics.ie Member former wesleyan's Avatar
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    This is a touchy subject as when the British tried to modernise landholding with the Encoumbered Estates Act they found that the purchasers were Irish, and not the modernising new English landords that they had in mind. This rarely gets a mention as it goes some way to vindicating the position of the British Government during the Famine when the excoriated the Irish for not doing anything to help themselves.


    Also buried in this period is the fact that many farms of 150 - 300 acres were bought by Irish protestants who in the period of the the War of Independence were subsequently vilified as being of the "landlord " class when they were nothing of the sort. If you want to see some of the hysterical rhetoric around this particular class, you can read about the Coolnacrease controversy.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by former wesleyan View Post
    This is a touchy subject as when the British tried to modernise landholding with the Encoumbered Estates Act they found that the purchasers were Irish, and not the modernising new English landords that they had in mind. This rarely gets a mention as it goes some way to vindicating the position of the British Government during the Famine when the excoriated the Irish for not doing anything to help themselves.


    Also buried in this period is the fact that many farms of 150 - 300 acres were bought by Irish protestants who in the period of the the War of Independence were subsequently vilified as being of the "landlord " class when they were nothing of the sort. If you want to see some of the hysterical rhetoric around this particular class, you can read about the Coolnacrease controversy.
    Curious were somebody in the aftermath of the GH was able to come up with the money for a three hundred acre farm.

    300 acres is hardly a potato patch half way up a hill.
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