Memory / Emigration (Custom House Quay )

Memory / Emigration (Custom House Quay) Two of the most interesting contrasts between the Finnish and Irish cases are in the (e)migration which occurred during the famines, and of the subsequent memorialisation of the catastrophes. Emigration from Finland in the 1860s – particularly to North America – was extremely limited. There were very few opportunities to travel across the Atlantic, and the emigration that occurred was generally to locations within the Russian Empire. The main narrative in Finland – in contemporary accounts as well as in subsequent folk memory and literature – was of internal migration: chaotic, unplanned vagrancy...

Read More

Charity: International Philanthropy & Domestic ‘noblesse oblige’ – (Carton House)

Charity: International Philanthropy & Domestic ‘noblesse oblige’. (Carton House) The site of Carton House, where the “Famine Queen” Victoria visited in 1849, presents an idea of a direct connection between the cases of Ireland and Finland. As in the Irish case, British Quakers were prominent in raising money for Finland and publicising the plight of the Finns internationally. Also as in the Irish case (and linked directly to some of Professor Kinealy’s recent work), there was a considerable international charitable response, reflecting a variety of motives from the donors. This formed part of an international interest in philanthropy and...

Read More

Home Rule & Government Famine Policy (Mullingar Workhouse)

Home Rule & Government Famine Policy (Mullingar Workhouse) Visiting the Mullingar workhouse provides an opportunity to explain how the two famines were “triggered” by different natural events (the phytophthera infestans blight in Ireland, an early winter frost in Finland), but also that such natural circumstances alone cannot create a famine – pre-existing societal structures and the response of the authorities must also be examined. Finland was in a different position from Ireland in terms of famine relief, in that it already possessed what many Irish demanded in the nineteenth century – Home Rule. This meant that relief polices for...

Read More

The Terrible Visitation – Famine in Finland and Ireland c. 1845-1868

“The Terrible Visitation” Famine in Finland and Ireland, c. 1845-1868: Transnational, Comparative and Long-Term Perspectives I would again urge upon the charitable consideration of the public the terrible visitation which has befallen the poor Finlanders and would repeat that further contributions will be most thankfully received.1 Famines were a recurrent feature of pre-industrial Europe, persisting well into the later nineteenth century. The Great Irish Famine – during which around one-eighth of the population, one million people, died, and a further million emigrated – is generally seen as a break, or disconnect, in Irish national history. It has given rise...

Read More