Sources & Resources: ‘The Great Irish Famine Online’

bonanza creek discoveryCreative Commons License scott1346 via Compfight

Click HERE to go to ‘The Great Irish Famine Online’.

This interactive website is from the Geography Department in UCC

and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht 

In it the famine is mapped at a parish level

and shows us changes which occurred between 1841 and 1851;

changes in population,



and education.

We can use it to see the changes that happened in Greystones

from 1841 to 1851.

In this way we can see how ‘The Famine’ affected Greystones

and its surrounding areas.

From the Archives: Super Macs make an historic find.

‘Leap Year Times’ Saturday, February 29th 1992

prepared by Mrs. McGloin’s 4th Class at that time.

The OneCreative Commons License Matthias Ripp via Compfight

Mrs McGloin, our Teacher, thinks that the McDonald children are wonderful.

As we all know, she is very interested in history.

Two years ago, when the Burnaby Farmhouse was falling down, Jason and Fergus Mc Donald were playing in the garden near the house. By a broken window, they found some old letters.

Their sister, Lisa brought these letters into school. It was discovered that they were very important indeed. One of the letters was part of an eye witness account of the death of Colonel Fred Burnaby written by a soldier who was holding his hand when he died in Sudan in 1885.

Another letter was from Disraeli, Prime Minister of England. It is dated 1877 and the address is 10 Downing Street. It congratulates Burnaby on his book, which we think is ‘The Ride to Khiva’.

The third letter is a note from Don Carlos, a Spanish prince, who Burnaby met when he went to Spain during the Carlist wars. This man was a pretender to the Spanish throne. The note is about a dinner inviation and the date is 1882.


These letters are being kept in a safe place until we have our own heritage centre in Greystones.

Well done to our three young historians.

A Tragedy at Greystones Harbour – ‘The Heroes of Greystones’


Port of Alexandroupolis. Stormy, Rainy weather sea portCreative Commons License Dimitris Siskopoulos via Compfight

On Friday night October 14th 1892 there was wild storm at Greystones.

A schooner called ‘Mersey’ was moored at the jetty.

The boat threatened to break up in the storm.

John Doyle and William Doyle with Hebert Doyle cast a rope

out to the boat and were successful. 

When returning home a great wave came and

swept them away.

John and William Doyle left large families behind.

A collection was made for them

and a poem was written to raise money for their poor families.

The poem was called ‘The Heroes of Greystones.

You can read that poem HERE 

on the Greystones Archaelogical and Historical Society website.


Placenames – Victoria Road

The World of Fashion and Continental Feuilletons 1838 Plate 39Creative Commons License CharmaineZoe’s Marvelous Melange via Compfight

In the second half of the 19th century Church Road, Trafalgar Road and Victoria Road were built. Victoria Road was called after the Queen Victoria. You can read more about her HERE Queen Victoria made four official visits to Ireland: 1849, 1853, 1861 and 1900. The railway station in Greystones opened on 30 October 1855. Many houses were built in Greystones after that time.

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..

Placenames – Kimberley Road

Contemplative St George Simon Webster via Compfight

Our school backs onto Kimberley Road.

Kimberley Road was named after a British victory.

The town of Kimberley in South Africa

was besieged by the Boers.

The siege began on 14th October 1899

and was ended  on 15th February 1900.

Click HERE to read more about the Siege of Kimberley.


People in Greystones used call Kimberley Road,

the Green Lane and the White Road,

because of the surface of the road over time.


Thanks to Gary Acheson and members of Historical Greystones Facebook page for this information.

The Coming of the Railway

IMG_4810.jpg Stephen_G via Compfight

Greystones was put on the map

with the coming of the railway.

The railway was built between 1854 and 1856

and joined Bray to Greystones.

Building the railway was a difficult job

because the railway line had to pass through solid rock.


Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) was the engineer.

Tunnels were blasted through the rock using explosives.

The train station was built on the line

dividing the properties of two landowners:

the La Touche Family of Bellevue House to the East of Greystones

and the Hawkins-Whitshed family of Killincarrig House to the North.


It was only when the railway was officially opened in 1855

that many more people came to live in Greystones.

Many of them worked in Dublin and went there by train.

This is still true today.

The Dart first came to Greystones in 2000 AD

and Greystones continues to grow.


Click on this LINK to see some great pictures of the Greystones railway on the Greystones Guide and HERE for more details on the coming of the railway to Greystones on Peter McNiff’s blog featuring Noel Kennedy’s ‘History of Greystones’.

Famous People – Colonel Frederick Burnaby & Elizabeth Whitshed

Greystones - The Burnaby HotelCreative Commons License William Murphy via Compfight

Lots of places in Greystones are called after Colonel Burnaby.

Who was he?

Colonel Frederick Burnaby was a Victorian celebrity:

a soldier, adventurer, and writer.

He and his new wife Elizabeth Whitshed travelled

to North Africa on honeymoon,

but due to delicate health,

Elizabeth returned to Greystones.

She then moved to Switzerland for health reasons.

Colonel Burnaby was killed in action

(near Khartoum in Sudan) in 1885.

These are from the archives:

See more also from the archives:

Click HERE to see a timeline for Colonel Frederick Burnaby

and Elizabeth Hawkins Whitshed.

Placenames – Greystones – How Greystones got its name

grey stones 2

Photo by Leon

English speaking sailors sailing on

the Irish Sea used to call the area

south of Rathdown, the grey stones 

because of the most noticeable of landmarks;

the grey rocks at St. David’s School.

This is how Greystones got its name.
Greystones (Na Clocha Liatha in Irish) is a coastal town in County WicklowCreative Commons License William Murphy via Compfight

Famous People: Isambard Kingdom Brunel


Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: LEOL30 via Compfight

Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in 1806.

He was an engineer who designed steamships, bridges and tunnels.

He engineered the railway line between Bray and Greystones.

This was a challenging job

as tunneling through rock was needed.

The arrival of the railway in Greystones

has made our town what it is today.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Nagesh Kamath via Compfight

You can read more about Isambard Kingdom Brunel HERE 

on the BBC Primary History website.