The Irish famine of 1845-52 has often been referred to as the Great Hunger. A nationwide food shortage resulting from seasons of potato blight left many starving, especially in the west of Ireland. Rather than being handed out food or money, some of the starving Irish were made to labour in Work Relief Schemes for charity to alleviate their suffering. These Work Relief Schemes resulted in the building of what are known as famine roads and walls. These constructions had no practical purpose, with roads leading to nowhere and walls separating barren, unused land.
The construction of these roads and walls during the Great Famine of 1845-52 has largely remained undocumented within Irish history, yet its traces remain visible across the Irish landscape. It is through these traces that the history behind the famine constructions can be seen and remembered today. The documenting of these traces prevents this history from ever being forgotten.
“...it is the landscape that has witnessed the event and I who am having to go into that landscape in hope of finding anything tangibly connected to the event.” - Chloe Dewe Mathews