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Ireland: Looking East

Edited By Christophe Gillissen

If Ireland’s relations with the Western world have been the object of numerous scientific publications, its links with the East have been neglected by research. The aim of this book is to redress that imbalance by proposing studies of various aspects of Ireland’s interactions with the East.
It is a multidisciplinary publication, dealing with some of the historical, political, religious, cultural, demographic and sociological connections between Ireland – both North and South – and the East.
The chapters, which offer novel perspectives for the field of Irish studies, are organised in a chronological sequence, from the mid-19 th century to the present. They focus on three main areas: the links between Ireland and the Asian continent, notably India, China and Turkey; its interactions with the Jewish people and the state of Israel; and its relations with Eastern European countries, in particular Poland and Lithuania.


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‘Some Great and Terrible Calamity’. India’s Response to Ireland’s Great Famine 13


13 ‘Some Great and Terrible Calamity’ India’s Response to Ireland’s Great Famine Christine KINEALY Caspersen Graduate School, Drew University, USA The Irish Famine of 1845-1851 was one of the first humanitarian disasters to attract international sympathy and large-scale financial donations. The first place where money was raised on behalf of the poor Irish was Calcutta in India. This was initiated by British residents. Following the second and more devastating appearance of potato blight in 1846, however, more donations were received from India, both from British and Irish settlers and from native Indians. How was the Irish Famine, and the mass mortality that accompanied it, reported in India, a country that was no stranger to food shortages? Moreover, how did two distinct parts of the British Empire, whose experiences of colonial rule were very different, interact at a time of crisis? The response to the crisis in Ireland not only offers a fresh insight into the varieties of relief provided during the Irish Famine, but contributes to the debate about Ireland’s (at times, paradoxical) relationship with other parts of the British Empire. At the same time, it throws further light on the failure of that Empire to intervene to save the lives of the people who lived within it. While most historians of the Irish Famine of 1845 to 1851 have tended to focus on the role of the British government in responding to the crisis, a distinctive feature of the catastrophe was that it was the first national disaster to...

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