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From January 1847 Irish people desperately trying to flee the famine began to leave the island in huge numbers.

220,000 left in that year alone and by 1853 more than one in six people who had lived in Ireland in 1845 had emigrated. While we know a lot about where they went and the horrendous conditions they faced, we know less about the lives they left behind. This show tells that story through the words of these Irish emigrants.

Research for this show took me into the archives of the National Library of Ireland. After sifting through what hundreds of letters from Famine emigrants this podcast publishes several for the first time since the 1840s. These never before heard accounts give a unique insight into the lives of Irish people in 1847 as they prepared to leave Ireland forever. Their stories are far more complex and all too often more tragic than we imagine.

This is only possible through the support of patrons – previously I would not have been able to devote the necessary time to one episode. If you want to become a patron today and get bonus content check out patreon.com/irishpodcast.

Thanks to Clare Ryan, Jamie Goldrick, Thom McDermott and Dave Lordan who narrate the letters.

Voices from Black ’47

You can support the show on patreon at www.patreon.com/irishpodcast

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