Carrick-a-Rede Bridge, County Antrim  



Professor of History
Caspersen Graduate School



Carrick-a-Rede Bridge, Co. Antrim.




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This Great Calamity. The Irish Famine 1845-52.
(Dublin: Gill and MacMillan, 1994: republished with new Introduction, 2006)


The Irish Famine remains one of the most lethal famines in modern history in terms of the immediate population loss and its longer-term impact on the country’s demography.  The Famine also shaped the subsequent development of Ireland, while changing the country’s  relationship with both Britain and the United States. Moreover, mass emigration not only took millions of Irish people overseas, but it ensured that the quest for Irish independence did not remain confined to the island of Ireland.

This book examines the factors that led up to this disaster and examines the response of the British government to successive years of failure of the potato crop. It asks, how could a disaster of this scale and longevity occur at the heart of the richest and most extensive empire in the world?

Christine Kinealy’s survey is long established as the most complete, scholarly survey of the Great Famine yet produced.  The unravelling of fact from opinion, the interpretation of motives behind the London government's responses, and the confrontation of stereotypes are at the heart of this extensive work. This Great Calamity is an exceptional book.
Gill and Macmillan, Dublin, 2006.

‘This book is mandatory reading for anyone who wishes to be informed about Irish history.’ Irish Post, 1994.

‘This is not the last word on the Famine, but it is the best so far.’ Irish Independent, 1994.

Winner of Irish Post Best Book Award, 1995, and short-listed for Irish Times Literary Award.