An extremely rare famine ration book that was recently discovered in  a private collection is now on public display at St. Mary’s Famine Museum in Thurles.

The “Gratuitous Relief Ration Record Book,” or “Distribution Book” as it was called, for the electoral divisions of Holycross, Thurles and Ballycahill in 1847, has also been digitized to allow an instant search facility for those interested in tracing their family roots, the Tipperary Star reports.

The Rations Record Book contains the names of those who were classed as paupers in the areas of Holycross, Thurles and Ballycahill and records the food rations distributed in the period May – Sept. `47 and part of `48.

The book lists the names of the heads of each household, and in most cases, the names of all the adults in each household. The records also show the number of rations each householder was allowed.

During the Great Irish Famine, just over 3 million Irish people were being supported by outdoor relief in July 1847. It was a very humiliating and insufficient system to those it supported, but it did help to keep many people from starving during the most harrowing period of the Great Irish Famine, referred to as ‘Black ’47.’

St Mary's Famine Museum, Thurles, Co Tipperary. from George Willoughby on Vimeo.