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Famine Cottages in Room 4

February 1, 2022

Mr Mc Keown’s 5th class have been learning about famine cottages in history,. A famine is when there is not enough food to feed all the people in a country or region. Many people may become ill or die because of famine. During the Famine of 1845–49 in Ireland, more than one million people died. Another two million people left Ireland to find a better life in other countries.

When the potato blight struck in 1845, over two million people in Ireland were living in mud cabins, which were classified as fourth class houses. The Government put houses into four classes.

SECOND a solid house with up to five front windows

THIRD a cottage (often with thatch roof)

FOURTH  a single room, built of organic material like sods, wood and so on (see picture right), some lived in even worse accommodation or had no dwelling at all.

Famine cottages were single-roomed cabins, sometimes without windows or chimneys. They were built cheaply from whatever materials were available in the locality. “Their clay or stone walls were made from earth and clay.  The timbers were dug from the bogs and their thatch harvested from the fields.

The children designed and created their own cottages using cardboard, straw and matchsticks, lollipop sticks  and stones.