thefadingyear

poitin_still Poitín Still

For our nineteenth century ancestors July was the month when food was scarcest. By the time that July  arrived food from the previous harvest was almost a year old, and many families found that their stores of food were much depleted or had disappeared entirely at this late stage. The decline in living standards, present throughout the nineteenth century Ireland, would peak during the Famine which would eventually take a million lives and force further million Irish men and women to emigrate from the land in which they were born. For families who had cattle running out of stored crops was not as lethal, but for the quarter of the population that relied on the potato as their sole source of sustenance July could be a difficult month to get by even without famine.

These tough conditions gave July many alternative names including, most generally, the “Hungry Month”…

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