Mayo: Famine led to mass departure of a generation

The effect of the Great Famine on emigration from Ireland was immediate and dramatic.

Between 1845 and 1855, almost 1.5 million people left for the United States; 340,000 sailed for British North America; around 300,000 settled in Britain, and about 70,000 went to Australia. In all, more than 2.1 million people left Ireland in these eleven years, over a quarter of the pre-Famine population, and greater than the combined total of all those who had left in the previous two-and-a-half centuries.

With the Famine wiping out hundreds of thousands of children, the result was the disappearance of almost an entire generation: less than one in three of those born in the early 1830s died in Ireland of old age. Mayo was one of the counties most challenged by this terrible time.

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