Saturday 12 May 2018

UCC launches The Great Irish Famine Online

As part of today's National Famine Commemoration at University College Cork, The Great Irish Famine Online has been launched.

This ground-breaking project allows users to access interactive maps containing detailed information on the impact of the Famine on each of 3,000 civil parishes and 1,600 towns across the island. You can analyse statistics that chart changes in the social, political and economic landscape of Ireland pre- and post-Famine. The statistics are taken from the 1841 and 1851 census.

Screenshot of the 1841 map of families employed in agriculture.
The civil parish of Kilkerranmore in County Cork is highlighted
I've just been playing with it. I'm finding it a bit slow, which I'm accustomed to with a rural broadband connection but this was particularly sluggish, and, rather more irritatingly, the site doesn't allow me any scroll control ie I can't get down to the bottom of the page on some pages. I'm using a PC. I suspect the site has been designed for responsive devices. That aside, the information is well presented, with a slider over the maps so you can slide between the 1841 data and the 1851 data.

I checked out my father's parish of Kilkerranmore in County Cork, to see just how agricultural the area was in the first half of the 19th century. The 1841 map showed that 391 (87%) of the 452 families in the parish were employed in agriculture. In 1851, the percentage was slightly lower – 84% – but the population had fallen dramatically: there were only 274 families still living there, a loss of 39% over the decade.

The Great Irish Famine Online is a collaboration between staff at UCC’s Geography Department and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. It is free to access. It can be found via the National Famine Commemoration website at On the landing page, click on The Great Irish Famine Map Online link.

Alternatively, go straight to this link.

The famine online project was born out of the 728-page Atlas of The Great Irish Famine, which was published by Cork University Press in 2012. Edited by John Crowley, William J Smyth and Mike Murphy, this huge tome is beautifully presented, with hundreds of illustrations, charts and maps to aid understanding and deep research.