The fourth episode in The Great Famine Irish history podcast series examines whether the Irish people saw disaster coming? What was Ireland like in 1845?

The year 1845 is famous for one thing in Irish history – the beginning of the Great Famine. However, contrary to what you might expect, there is little evidence to suggest that those who lived in Ireland through the opening months of that fateful year knew that a catastrophe was looming.

Read more: Murders show savagery of day to day life during Great Hunger

This episode paints a vivid picture of life in Ireland in the days and weeks before the Great Hunger began. What did the island look like? Did people realize what lay ahead? The podcast chronicles the religious sectarianism tearing society apart and the political issues that dominated day-to-day life. These would haunt Ireland when the potato failed later in the year.

You will also hear why, despite these problems, there was every reason to be hopeful about the future before the fateful harvest of that year when the potato failed.

Read more: The Irish people and potatoes - was Ireland overpopulated in 1845?

 * Fin Dwyer is a historian, author, and creator of the Irish history podcast. Over the last seven years, he has been creating free podcasts which makes Irish history accessible to new audiences. He has covered diverse topics from the Middle Ages to the modern history. He is currently focusing on the story of the Great Hunger. With over three million individuals downloads, the show is one of Ireland's most popular podcasts. You can find his podcast on iTunes or Spotify .

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