The Famine Roads

Throughout the west of Ireland, the landscape is scarred by strange criss-crossing roads that climb up into the hills then simply stop, incomplete, leading nowhere.  These roads were the result of the forced labor of the Irish peasantry, who, under the strictures of the Poor Law and the reigning laissez-faire economic theory of the day, were made to work in exchange for food during the Great Famine.  These roads remain, 150 years later, as visible marks in the Irish countryside, which in this as in so many things still bears the scars of history.

Famine roads visible on the hillside in the Dingle Peninsula.

Famine roads along the hills above Dunquin, on the western end of the Dingle Peninsula, viewed from the Blasket Sound.

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