The Green Dragon No 2, March 1997

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In preparing it some spelling errors have been corrected and some changes made to the original text.


Editor's Introduction


And ye, O children worn and weak,
Who care no more with flowers to play,
Lean on the grass your cold, thin cheek,
And those slight hands, and whispering, say,
‘Stern mother of a race unblest,
In promise kindly, cold in deed! –
Take back, O Earth, into thy breast,
The children whom thou wilt not feed.”



These lines by Aubrey de Vere (1814-1902), from the poem The Year of Sorrow: Ireland – 1849, deal with the year after that (1848) in which it is considered that the famine ended. However, poverty, want, hunger, disease and death continued to torment a wasted land for some years after the potato blight had begun to lose its initial virulence. In his poem Aubrey de Vere addresses the falling snow:

Descend and clasp the mountain’s crest;
Inherit plain and valley deep:
This night, in thy maternal breast,
A vanquished nation dies in sleep.’

It did indeed seem so. The blight faded. The crops reappeared. Death from hunger became the tormented memory of the old. But the great wave of emigration from the Gaelic-speaking south and west that began during the famine years continued unabated – 5 million left Ireland between 1845 and 1916. Today, with 5 million people, Ireland (North and South combined) remains the only country in Europe whose population is less than it was 150 years ago. And the Republic of Ireland remains the only European state to have gained its independence since then without recovering its hereditary language.


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Contents

1. 1847: Starvation Fever
This is an excerpt from a longer article by Dr. Daniel Donovan, Skibbereen, published in the Dublin Medical Press of March 1, 1848.
1a. A response to above item by Dr. J.H.Thomas, Porthcawl, a retired doctor and medical historian.

2. The Great Famine in Rosscarbery
Part of the biography in Irish of Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa (1831 - 1915) by Seán Ó Lúing, published in 1969 by Sáirséal & Dill, Dublin. Translation ©: The Wales Famine Forum.

3. Black Year when death brought the country to its knees
This bleak account of the famine in County Limerick, © Julia O Faolain, was first published in The Irish Times January 20, 1997, and was reprinted with the permission of the author and the Editor.

4. Hardship
The story, Cruatan by Mícheál Ó hOdhráin from his book in Irish Slán leis an gComhluadar ('Goodbye to Them All'), Dublin, F.N.T., 1961. Refused food or shelter by a young housewife, an old tinker woman dies alone in the snow.Translation ©: The Wales Famine Forum.

5. Poem :Documentary : On Reading Thomas Webster Rammell's Report of 1850
The Rammell Report on public health in Cardiff is a major source of information on the conditions endured by refugees from Ireland's famine during their first years in Wales. © Bob Walton, who lives in Bristol.

6. Poem: An Irish Landowner Foresees his Death
© Steve Hennessy, an Irish writer based in Bristol.

7. Newtown, a brief history
An account of Cardiff's famous Irish quarter, demolished in 1966/67 to make room for 'development'. © Mary Sullivan, Chair of the Newtown Association.

8. St. Paul's new church, Tyndall Street
This anonymous account of the opening of the church that was to serve the people of Newtown until their dispersal was published in August, 1893.

9. When the Heart Stopped Beating
This tribute to Newtown and its people, © Dan O'Neill, was published in Cardiff's South Wales Echo on November 11, 1996.

10. Poem :Newtown - the Parish of St. Paul's
A ballad by former resident, the late Tommy Walsh, in memory of the people of Newtown whose lives he had once shared.

11. We too are Irish
The author grew up in a working class Presbyterian community in East Belfast but has lived in Wales for many years. © Samuel H. Boyd

12. Short story: A Return Ticket home
© J.B.Polk who was born in Poland of German parents in 1964. In 1968 she married a Chilean refugee living in Ireland where they now live with their two children.
Her story is about an Irish social worker in Chile.

13. Change the Rules!
This is a statement by Christian Aid calling for a change in the way supermarkets trade in order to give some of the poorest people in the world a better deal.

14. Peter Harding – from Cardiff to Riverdance
© Joe Moore, a native of Armagh, who tells how a Cardiff teenager whose parents are from Ireland went from lessons in Irish dancing to a place in the famous foot stomping lineout that is Riverdance.

15. President Mary Robinson in Cardiff
A report on the former President's visit to the Welsh capital in early February, 1997. © John O'Sullivan, a Cardiff-based freelance journalist and local historian.

16. Folktale : Saint Patrick's 'Pot' – Drinking the Health of the Saint :
A charming legend from West Cork.

17. Farouk Daruwalla : 1942 - 1997
This is a tribute to a much-loved gentleman from India who came to live in Cardiff, played the bagpipes and learned Irish.

18. The Wales Famine Forum, 1995 - 1997
A report on the first two years.

19. Poem : Good Taste
© Glenda Renyi, married to a Hungarian and living in Bristol. Here she looks back at what her Irish foremothers, including one who may have died during the Great Famine, had to eat.

20. Poem : Potatoes
©: Christine Broe of Dublin who links potatoes with the blight and with Ireland's famine

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