Whether we live plainly or upon every luxury to be obtained, the rule in serving our meals should be

Mrs Beetons Supper Table, date unknown

During the famine of 1846-67 the townland of Ballybeg was vey thickly populated. Hunger and disease prevailed to extremes. My great grandfather had the seed potatoes and fearing they would be taken for food he hid them in the turf clamps putting the turf securely outside.

When the potatoes were fairly well grown they had to be guarded at night time. As there was no food in the district at the time and only the government gave out Indian meal which was made into porridge twice a week and given out at Mr Acres house at Ballybeg.

When the potato failed they became bad for food and fever followed, people died in great numbers and that year had been remembered since as Black 47. There are no sites of housing remaining but several fields bear the names of their former owners, such as Pollocks field, Keeshans field, Tynans field and others…It has been related in the district that a man worked for three days without food and able bodied young men volunteered to walk from Shinrone, a distance of four miles.

Coolderry, Co. Offaly

Source: www.duchas.ie

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