Rural Donegal, Ireland

Scraping a living from a small piece of land has always been hard and never more so than in rural Ireland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Ireland has had more than its fair share of life-threatening crises with chronic, grinding poverty; the potato famine; land clearances by wealthy (often English) landlords and more. This photograph shows a family in a thatched hovel which would be a prized doer-upper today but then was literally about keeping a roof over your head. This is not ancient history as we have family members who can recall scenes from their childhood in Ireland, not too dissimilar to that portrayed here.

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