Epidemic Diseases of the Great Famine
Published in 18th–19th – Century
History, Features, Issue 1 (Spring 1996), The Famine, Volume 4 (abridged)
In December 1846, the board of health in Drumkeeran, County Leitrim, resolved to hire a house for use as a fever hospital, there being no such institution within a radius of eighteen miles. The proposal caused ‘inconceivable alarm’ in the town. Sixty-two of the residents, including merchants, shopkeepers, tradesmen, labourers, publicans, and householders, as well as Pat Gallaher, the schoolmaster, addressed a memorial to the Lord Lieutenant, objecting to the establishment of a fever hospital in the centre of the town. They stated that they were not so much opposed to the institution, as to its location.
A rather similar appeal was made by the residents of Kinvarra, County Galway, in July 1847. They claimed that the imminent opening of a fever hospital in the town placed their lives and those of their families in ‘the greatest peril’. They argued that the chosen site was too close to the town, that it either adjoined or was within eight feet of a range of houses occupied by some 300 individuals and was no more than sixty yards from the town centre.