One of my UL projects was a short history of the Earl Grey Orphans who were shipped out to Australia from Listowel Workhouse in 1849/1850. I grew up in Listowel but only had a kind of outline of what the Great Famine meant in the locality and I had never heard of the Earl Grey scheme. I have expanded this
work now to include all 117 ‘Orphans’ from four Kerry Workhouses – Dingle, Kenmare, Killarney and Listowel and I hope to have this book published towards the end of this year. Work on the ‘Orphans’ has been a real eye opener. I have had so many requests from third generation ancestors of these girls that it has led me to the four corners of the Kingdom, to track down baptism certs, find graves, explain to people how the girls ended up in these Workhouses and the circumstances and conditions on the ground during the Great Famine. Each of the baronies served by these four Workhouses, had individual reasons endemic in the areas that led to the eventual deaths by starvation or disease in such huge numbers. Popular belief is that the Great Famine lasted from 1845 to 1850 but you can see here on the left the numbers who died in the week ending 22 March 1852 sixty six people died in Listowel Workhouse – 17 Adults and 49 children under the age of 15.