In 1845 life in the Castlecomer Coalfields was racked by economic recession and grinding poverty. When the potato crop, the staple diet of millions across Ireland, failed disaster struck. In the following years around one million Irish people died and over one million emigrated.
In Castlecomer the fate of thousands lay in the hands on one man – Charles Wandesforde – the mine owner and local landlord. His decisions were controversial but it not easy to decide whether they were good bad. One thing is for certain life in the coalfield would never be the same again.