As Gilbert took a named mare to England the animals may have been for Captain Wyndham’s estate in Dorset, or one of his brother’s estates. Irish beef, raised in Ireland’s mild climate has always been considered the best beef to eat in Britain.18 – To Derrintloura, Derrartan & Westport. Found potatoes very bad – distress is imminent.
Potato blight was a constant problem in Ireland as the tenant farmers’ diets often consisted of just potatoes supplemented by milk, while the sale of the rest of their agricultural produce went towards paying their rent. Potato blight is caused by a micro-organism called Phytophthora infestans that is still a problem in the 21st century.
Chris has suggested that I, Carolyn write a historical background to John Oram’s time in Ireland. I have been reading books on Irish history and realise that this is a difficult task.
Following is work in progress…
To make any sense of Irish history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries one needs to look back to the Tudor and Stuart kings and queens of England. English rulers were aware that England could be invaded from the west, through Ireland as well as via the more obvious English Channel. King Henry VIII who reigned 1509-1547 took the treat seriously and decided to become King of Ireland rather than just Lord of Ireland as his predecessors had entitled themselves. King Henry sent in his troops and bullied and bribed the existing Irish hierarchy living within the Pale, the area around Dublin, to submit to his rule and accept the English model of landownership. The people living in Mayo, in a ‘barren land’ 150 miles from Dublin would have continued to live under the old Celtic system.