Milestones in 19th Century Irish History Local history talks by S Alex Blair

On Wednesday 22 February, local historian S Alex Blair continues his popular series of talks looking at milestones in 19th century Irish history. This month’s talk, When the Potatoes Failed, is presented in partnership with Cultural Crossings, which is promoted by the Provost of the Coleraine Campus, University of Ulster, in partnership with Causeway Coast Arts.

The potato is still an enjoyable part of the diet of most Irish people. In the 19th century it was the staple, giving them the essentials for life. When the crop failed for a number of years in succession, in the 1840s, the result was hunger, starvation, disease and death.

It was the great watershed in 19th century Irish history and its immediate and long-term consequences were immense. Ireland was never the same again and it affected the political, cultural, social and economic life of the country.

The topic is a huge one and Mr Blair’s talk will try to deal with what happened across the country and the profound effect it had, continuing even to the present day. There is trauma, emotion and great distress but, when it was over, it provided a fresh start for some and for others, a bitterness, in a foreign land, which was hard to overcome.

The series continues on Tuesday 13 March with A Nation Once Again, and the final talk in the series, Home Rule is Coming, is on Tuesday 3 April.
All talks take place at 8pm in Ballymoney Town Hall. Admission £2 includes refreshments. The series is promoted by Ballymoney Borough Arts Committee in conjunction with Ballymoney Museum.