The Daily Advance


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Elizabeth City's Daily Paper
We spent an hour or so with a Daily Advance reporter. Here is the article which the paper ran on St. Patrick's Day.

McDonnell: Irish history summed up
in three words


Cindy Beamon
Albemarle Life Editor
Thursday, March 17, 2016

"Author David K. McDonnell likes how the Irish refer to major events in history with just two or three words.

"The Great Hunger" is short for the great potato famine in the Mid-19th century that was responsible for mass starvation, disease and emigration in Ireland.

The three simple words mean so much more than they appear, said the writer of "ClanDonnell: A Storied History of Ireland."

What most Americans - including many descendants of Irish immigrants - do not know is that Ireland was growing plenty of food at the time of the famine, McDonnell said in a recent interview.

The problem was that most of the barley, wheat, sheep and cattle were being exported out of the country by wealthy British landlords. Over the previous century, debt collectors had confiscated the holdings of Irish landowners who dared to rebel against British rule, McDonnell stated.

The events leading up to "The Great Hunger" set the stage for disaster when the Irish Potato Famine struck. Over a million men, women and children in Ireland died and another million sought refuge outside their homeland.

The complexity of problems leading up to "The Great Hunger" was one of the surprises McDonnell discovered in research for his 925-page book covering centuries of history.

Despite its length, the book leaves out two important words, McDonnell admits. "The Troubles, referring to events after 1922, including Protestant-Catholic fighting and all its complexities, are not included.

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