Information about The Great Irish Famine

The Loan Funds Database

The Loan Funds were 19th century institutions that provided credit to the poor of Ireland. At their peak, in the years immediately prior to the Great Famine, up to 13 individual loan funds operated in the greater Skibbereen area putting £75,356 into circulation in the local economy over a 10 year period.

Some records survive for the Kilmoe & Crookhaven, Schull, Durrus, Creagh, Baltimore, Castletownsend, Glandore and Ballineen funds. These records include loan details and also subsequent follow up reports. The loan records give details of the amount of the loan and the names of the guarantors. The follow up reports give an indication of how the Famine affected the poor of West Cork and are one of the few surviving records that offer information on who died and emigrated during this time.

Skibbereen Heritage Centre provides a searchable database of the five local Loan Funds in West Cork where records survive. These previously unavailable ‘annals of the poor’ offer an insight into the circumstances of the ordinary people of West Cork prior to, and as a result of, the Great Famine.

  • For further information, click here
  • A Journal of a Visit of Three Days to Skibbereen and its Neighbourhood by Elihu Burritt, click here
  • Narrative of a Journey from Oxford to Skibbereen during the year of the Irish Famine by Lord Dufferin and the Hon. G.G. Boyle 1847, click here
  • The Skibbereen Trail – An Historical Walking Tour published by Irish Famine Commemoration (Skibbereen Ltd.), click here
  • An Irish Tale of Hunger and the Sultan click here
  • Report from the Hunger Task Force to the Government of Ireland 2008, click here
  • For more information on Irish Aid work against Hunger and Under-nutrition, click here


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