Tralee & the Great Famine
During the winter of 1846 the effects of the Famine and the continued failure of the potato blight was acutely felt in the west of Ireland. None more so than county Kerry. In the town of Tralee, as the Kerry Examiner reported on Christmas Day 1846, the harrowing effect of hunger was severely felt by families such as the Connells. The report notes the death of Michael Connell, widower, and the father of three young children whose fate was surely the same:
On Wednesday an inquest was held before Justin Supple, Esq., Coroner, on the body of Michael Connell of this town, when the following fact appeared in evidence. Deceased was a widower, about 45 or 50 years of age; had three children the youngest five, and the eldest twelve; the three children have been for some, weeks Laid up sick and weak from hunger, the only means of support for the whole family being whatever miserable' pittance an old woman could beg for their support, for the last few weeks not averaging a penny worth in the day, and many days having passed without their tasting food. Beside the corpse, on a miserable wad of straw, lay two children almost gasping which hunger, the third child being out begging having left its sick bed. The poor man breathed his last on Wednesday, leaving his attenuated and skeleton frame, and the pallid and ghastly countenances of the starving children to attest the fact of famine having made its ravages in this town. Mr. Supple at his own expense provided a coffin.