The Great Famine: Irish Relief Funds

The Silver Voice:

When the Irish were starving to death in the Great Famine, there were concentrated efforts in other countries to bring relief to the suffering here at home. This blog post outlines some results of efforts made across the world but most particularly in the ranks of the Union military in the American Civil War.

Originally posted on Irish in the American Civil War:

In 1863, Ireland was on the brink of famine. Poor harvests for three consecutive years had left many destitute, and disaster loomed. In response to the threat, relief committees that had previously been established to channel funds to assist the worst afflicted areas were reactivated. The large Irish population in the United States, many of whom were Famine victims themselves, were not to be found wanting in coming to the assistance of those at home. The cause was championed by the leaders of Irish-American communities, and soon Irish Relief Funds emerged across the war-stricken North.

The USS Hetzel. The crew donated $25 to the Irish Relief Fund during the American Civil War (United States Navy)

The USS Hetzel. The crew donated $25 to the Irish Relief Fund during the American Civil War (United States Navy)

Irish soldiers were also quick to put their hands in their pockets to help out those less fortunate. Irishmen in the British army of India collected rupees for the appeal, while those soldiers stationed…

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Filed under American Civil War, Emigration from Ireland, Irish American, Irish Australian, Irish Diaspora, Irish History, Irish_American, Social History Ireland

2 responses to “The Great Famine: Irish Relief Funds

  1. Thanks for sharing this Angela. The early 1860s were a peak migration period for Irish people coming to Australia, partly because the US was less appealing at the time of a civil war. There are some of these lists on Trove.

    • Thanks for the comment Pauleen. Yes, we were offered help from all over the place – I wonder how much of the aid made any real difference to starving people who could not leave? Many of course went to Australia on assisted passages and I wrote earlier about how the Donegal Relief Fund helped many emigrate to Australia. In Australia, you are so blessed with the terrific research resource that is TROVE – other nations please copy!

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