Children of the Famine


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The Byrne's farm is mostly good land and potatoes grow well there.
A lot of the family's time is spent on the potato crop. It is very important because the family depends on potatoes to survive.

The ground has to be dug and prepared from early March. James is old enough to help his father and Michael Moore, who lives close by, works for the Byrnes during the busy times.

Bridget and Patrick help with the sowing of the potatoes. It is back-breaking work.

James also grows some corn on his farm. He sells this to pay the rent. He has a pig and some chickens. These are also sold to pay rent. The animals share the house with the family.


Bridget helps her mother look after the house and the younger children.

She and Patrick sometimes help Dad on the farm.

Some days the two children go to the school which has been built by the landlord, Lord Fitzwilliam.
It is three kilometres away from their home.
They don't go very often because of the distance and they are usually needed to help at home.

They haven't yet learned to read and write.


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