The Famine in Greystones and surrounding areas


Greystones, as we know it,

was really only a small fishing hamlet before the famine.

It is not listed in the census of 1841

and the population of 1851 (93 people)

had increased to 238 by 1861.

When the Boat Comes inCreative Commons License Henry Hemming via Compfight

The Parliamentary Gazetteer 1844-45 says

‘but the fishermen of Greystones at least had fish

and there is no record of hardship’.

However Windgate shows a drop in population

from 185 in 1841

to 41 in 1851.

Ocean View Rich Childs via Compfight

Delgany, as a village, showed

a growth of population during the famine,

while the population in the

Delgany area overall dropped.

lever de soleil Pittou2 via Compfight

The La Touche Family had the following structures in place

to help people in need:

1. The Farm Shop which sold food at or below cost

was in existence since Elizabeth La Touche’s time.

A girl wearing a straw hat. Девушка в соломенной шляпке.Creative Commons License Sergey G via Compfight
2. There was a straw hat factory

there which employed the women.


Turning wheat into flour Canadian Pacific via Compfight
3. There was a flour mill

and a dispensary.

A dispensary is a place where medicines

are prepared and provided.

Saint Charles Apotheke, Vienna Kotomi_ via Compfight
4. They had the Adair fund

of £60 per annum to help the needy.

southwell the workhouse kitchen rations damian entwistle via Compfight
5. The better off did not have

to support the workhouse in Loughlinstown

but had responsibility for their own poor people.

knock knock garden beth via Compfight
6. A Famine Relief Scheme;

building the back road to Bellevue, was in operation.


Saint Thérèse of Lisieux giveawayboy via Compfight
In 1844 the Carmelite Sisters came to Delgany.

In 1846 they opened a school.

Their church was not built until 1853 owing to the famine.

FAMINE MEMORIAL AT CUSTOM HOUSE QUAY IN DUBLIN [ARTIST - ROWAN GILLESPIE]-122170Creative Commons License William Murphy via Compfight

The Downs Village (north of the Willow Grove Pub)

did not fare so well.

In 1841 it was a thriving village with church and village green.

By 1851 it had no one living there.

Did they all die or was this a result of the village

being by passed by a new road shortly before the famine years?

Abandoned cabin at Foher cabin village in north Connemara. Ridges from ruined potato crops remain. Randy Durrum via Compfight

Kilcoole, Newcastle and Newtownmountkennedy

were engaged in growing potatoes

for the Dublin market (just as they are today).

The famine struck them very badly.

The 1841 Census for the Kilcoole area

showed a population of 215 people.

By 1851 this had dropped to 93.

In the same period Kilquade dropped from 327 to 88

and Kilpeddar East from 111 to just 10.

1_farthing_Columbia_nd_1ar85Creative Commons License Jean-Michel Moullec via Compfight

The church records in Newcastle tell of money

being collected for the relief of the poor.


Cholera Consultation: the Central Board of HealthCreative Commons License Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, UofT via Compfight

A fever hospital was set up in Newtown in 1832

when were was an outbreak of cholera.

This was probably filled to capacity during the famine.

Bray Joseba Gabilondo Markes via Compfight

Bray: Bray being near the sea had some fish to feed the people.

It also had many generous inhabitants.

But there still was a lot of hardship.

Frisch geerntete KartoffelnCreative Commons License Maja Dumat via Compfight

By 1846 the price of the potatoes was very high.

In the winter of 1846, men seeking employment

from the Poor Law Guardians were sent away.

There was widespread distress.

Creative Commons License Francesca S via Compfight

There were very stormy seas also. Fishing was impossible.

Fishermen’s cottages in Dock Terrace were destroyed.

Train tunnel Aaron van Dorn via Compfight

To get famine relief work you had to be certified as being destitute.

In 1847, 36 more men were laid off.

By August of that year work on the Bray Head Railway had started

and 500 men were employed.


During the worst part of the famine

local gentry set up Relief Schemes in Bray.

Chicken Noodle-Less Soup Sarah R via Compfight

Lady Plunkett of Old Connaught House set up soup kitchens.

Lord Plunkett increased wages from 10 shilling (50c)

to 12 shillings for a 60 hour week.

Old Money Howard Dickins via Compfight

Lady Meath of Killruddery and Mrs. Putland

distributed food and clothing.

The Putlands lived in San Souci (now Loreto Convent)

The Putland Road was build as a Famine Relief Scheme.

Crowds tried to waylay Mrs. Putland,

asking her for help every time she went out in her carriage.

"Famine"Creative Commons License Jennifer Boyer via Compfight

By 1841 there were 1123 people

living in the rural area around Bray.

By 1851 this had decreased to 799.

Many thanks to Mrs. McGloin

for this information about the famine in our area.

Mrs. McGloin was a much loved teacher in our school

who was very interested in local history and has now retired..

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