Professor Christine Kinealy tells the story of Ireland’s Great Famine through her research

kinealyChristine Kinealy, professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Irish Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, was featured in the Waterbury Republican-American for her research of Ireland’s Great Famine.

“When I was (at) Trinity (College, Dublin, in the 1980s), the orthodoxy was that the British had done everything they could about Ireland,” said Kinealy. “But when I started to do my own research, I discovered that they could have done more and that they were very well-informed about what was going on. What I was finding was going against the orthodoxy. The stark fact is that we know over 1 million people died. This was at the heart of the richest empire in the world. How could this happen nowhere else? How could it happen only in Ireland?”

Kinealy made it her mission to answer these questions.

“There was a callousness, certainly,” said Kinealy. “Within the British government, there was this almost pragmatic view that this blight is being sent by providence and now we’re be able to do major change in Ireland. There was almost a smugness about it.”

She said the British wanted to modernize Ireland. “But Ireland wasn’t Britain,” she told the daily newspaper. “Ireland couldn’t have developed that way. But it was that false idea, ‘we are the gold standard.’ All it did was destroy a culture.”

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Categories: College of Arts and Sciences, News

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