Saturday, 27 February 2021

O'Sullivan, The Irish Famine, 1845 to 1852: source, silence, historiography

 

Patrick O’Sullivan

The Irish Famine, 1845 to 1852:  source, silence, historiography

February 2021

 

I was asked, and I said Yes.

There is a strange silver lining to the virus crisis...  So much stuff, meetings and presentations, has had to move to the online systems.  I have been able to take part in many 'events' that I would otherwise just have noted and regretted - and, many years later, chased up the paperwork.  Now, I sit in and take notes.

My trade union, the Writers' Guild, has created some great online, writerly meetings - mostly, when writers come together, they come together to whine.  But these meetings have been very craft-oriented and positive.  Other organisations I am part of, or am connected to, have created excellent online events - I have played autoharps in San Francisco, and I have sung ballads in Glasgow.

In my academic life I have 'attended' events organised - for example - by the Rocky Mountain Irish Roots Collective (about the Irish in Leadville, Colorado), and by the Irish Embassy, Washington, USA (about C19th black abolitionists in Ireland), and quite a number of work meetings.  And I am part of an online group exploring the discourse of 'decolonization'. 

I have been on 3 different platforms, Microsoft Teams, Blackboard and Zoom.  Of those 3, Zoom seems to work best.

I first connected with the meetings of the Rocky Mountain Irish Roots Collective - despite the extreme time difference - because I was so interested in the work of James Walsh, and his very human and very scholarly response to the unmarked graves of Leadville...

A web search will find links - but see

https://coloradomartinis.com/2020/12/05/leadville-colorado-forgotten-irish/

Irish Diaspora Studies always has a special interest in unmarked graves...

So, when the Rocky Mountain Irish Roots Collective asked me to give a presentation, about Irish Famine historiography, I said Yes.

I have put on my Dropbox the illustrative material that I will make available to the group this evening...

Patrick O’Sullivan

The Irish Famine, 1845 to 1852:  source, silence, historiography

Rocky Mountain Irish Roots Collective

February 2021

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/oxhu0k4nvnaxc6s/AAA9tBt5ONGT1sj3sybDNhsda?dl=0

My starting point is fairly simple:  in order to understand Irish Famine historiography you need to have read four books, two book published in the mid nineteenth century and two books published in the mid twentieth century.

Will I put forward the strong version of this argument, that in order to understand Irish Famine historiography you need to have read ONLY four books?  Well, Irish Famine historiography has certainly organised itself around those four books, and we do need to understand how and why.

So, today, February 27 2021, in the middle of my Yorkshire night, which is the Colorado day time, I will make my presentation to the Rocky Mountain Irish Roots Collective.  I wonder how I will get on.

Patrick O'Sullivan

February 2021

 

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Potatoes 2021 - Heritage Research

 

We now have a patch of garden, which we are rescuing from oblivion.

Usually we buy our seed potatoes from a gathering of the West Yorkshire Organic Gardening Association (WYOGA) - there will be no gathering this year.  So, looking further afield...

In 2020 our potato harvest was not good - a very wet growing season, and it looks like there were soil problems in the bit of garden assigned to potatoes...

Thinking about a seed potato that can tolerate wet conditions and poor soil...  

Potatoes 2021 has become Heritage Research..

I bought lumpers...

https://potatohouse.co.uk/product/lumpers/

The lumper is a heritage variety, famous, or infamous, for its part in the Irish Famine, 1845-1852.

There has been a lot of discussion of the resurrected lumper...  This is Cormac Ó Gráda, The Lumper Potato and the Famine, on History Ireland...

https://www.historyireland.com/18th-19th-century-history/the-lumper-potato-and-the-famine-11/

See also...

https://laidbackgardener.blog/tag/irish-lumper-potato/

'...The ‘Lumper’ was pretty much forgotten about until Michael McKillop of Glens of Antrim Potatoes in Northern Ireland found it among other varieties of heritage potatoes in 2009. He grew the plant, produced more and now sells the spuds as a St. Patrick’s Day novelty at Marks and Spencer stores throughout Ireland. It’s also being grown in Canada at the University of Guelph’s Elora Research Station in Ontario, Canada and at Canadian Potato Genetic Resources in Fredericton, New Brunswick...'

http://www.thedailyspud.com/2013/03/11/lumper-potatoes/

'...the Lumpers I sampled had a decent flavour and a texture that tended towards the waxy end of the scale, while the mere fact of their availability is a story that has piqued people’s curiosity no end. With coverage including a front page article in the Irish Times last week, as well as a piece on RTE’s Six One news, this, undoubtedly, is the best press the Lumper has ever had...'

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/schools-invited-to-commemorate-famine-by-planting-lumper-potatoes-1.3832992

'...Schools across Ireland are being encouraged to sow Lumper potatoes this spring as a way of commemorating those who died during the Famine of the 1840s...'

I did not only buy lumpers, of course... 

I also bought a number of Sarpo varieties...  

Blight resistant.

http://sarpo.co.uk/

We are waiting for the seed potatoes to arrive.  And then we wait for warmer weather.

Patrick O'Sullivan

January 2021