Celtic FC

Tomorrow Celtic Football Club take to the field against Dundee United and afterwards will collect the Premier League trophy with the National Famine Memorial Day logo on their shirts.

Without a doubt the ‘famine’ transformed Ireland changing the island forever. The impact on the people and the legacy of emigration, loss and decline of the Irish language are still with us today.

Famines are generally thought of as periods where there is not enough food. The result is starvation, economic breakdown and chaos, sometimes leading to total disintegration of the social fabric.

From 1845 through to 1852, Ireland, whose poor existed on a diet almost entirely based on the potato, experienced a potato crop failure that caused unbelievable hardship and wiped from the country over one million dead and over three million forced to flee for their lives. Many never even reached their destination before the effects of the ‘famine’ overtook them. The incredible fact is though that Ireland continued to produce plenty of food during this period. However, it was all exported. Exporting food was far more profitable for our colonial ‘masters’ than making it available to the starving and dying.

If we look into this topic just a little, you have to conclude that the suffering of our ancestors was caused by something far more horrible than crop failure. Indeed, the policy response to the crop failure was so horrific, that respected historian Tim Pat Coogan terms it ‘genocide’. An deliberate attempt was made to wipe the Irish Catholic off the island of Ireland.

So, why use the word ‘famine’? The reason is simple: The Irish government; academics and a host of other entities use that label, and as such, it refers to the horrors suffered by the Irish during the years 1844-1851. So, while famine is not correct, most know what the label refers to.

I think the greater problem we face is indifference of the Irish diaspora. There are seventy, perhaps eighty million people worldwide who trace their roots back to Ireland. The vast majority of these people have little knowledge of the horrors and ignore it. ‘Long ago and far away’. We want ALL of them to acknowledge the horrors of the 1840’s.

Pause for one minute on Commemoration Day, May 10, and spare a thought or a prayer for not just those poor souls lost at home but also those spread out across the globe.

Those that forget the past have no right to the future…

special thanks to Terrance Seán O’Dwyer for help with the article

Further Reading:

Let Ireland Remember

Irish National Famine Memorial Day

but the most extensive resource on Facebook about this period is to be found at

Irish Holocaust –Not Famine: The Push To Educate In Facts

it really is an excellent site and i cannot recommend it enough and i would urge all of you there with haste.


  1. Chantal Rocheleau May 10, 2014 at 3:34 pm Reply

    A widespread scarcity of food,[1] caused by several factors including crop failure, population unbalance, or government policies.
    Holocaust has a secure place in the language when it refers to the massive destruction of humans by other humans.
    Chris Fogarty has done excellent work on the “Irish Famine” and we know now that tonnes of food was shipped from Irish shores duirng the so called Famine. This was not a Famine but a Holocaust of the Irish people. Educate yourself and start here where the information is documented
    Look up Thomas Carlyle, British essayist, who wrote “Ireland is like a half-starved rat that crosses the path of an elephant. What must the elephant do? Squelch it – by heavens – squelch it.” An editorial in “The Times” quoted “A Celt will soon be as rare on the banks of the Shannon as the red man on the banks of Manhattan.

  2. Stuart Young May 12, 2014 at 5:58 pm Reply

    What a good cause.

  3. Alice Holemans May 12, 2014 at 6:04 pm Reply

    At the moment I’am reading the Novel Famine by O’Flaherty!
    A story about opression and unequality during the famine.

  4. Jim Mc Garry May 16, 2014 at 1:51 pm Reply

    Good to see in these times of change and repositioning of the club as a going concern that Celtic are raising awareness and remembering their historic roots and the rationale for their formation. Proud Bhoy HH

  5. […] we have featured articles on Án Gorta Mór in previous years that you can read here: 2015  2014 […]

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