The Great Irish Famine

Aye, twill soon be St. Patrick’s Day, a celebration by Irish and non-Irish throughout the world.  Join me please, as we discover why so many Irish left their homeland and came to America as their very lives depended on it.

The Great Irish Famine Was a Turning Point for Ireland and America

A pencil sketch of starving Irish people in the 1840s.

Internet Archive Book Images/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Article by Robert McNamara and ThoughtCo

In the early 1800s, the impoverished and rapidly-growing rural population of Ireland had become almost totally dependent on one crop. Only the potato could produce enough food to sustain families farming the tiny plots of land the Irish peasants had been forced onto by British landlords.

The lowly potato was an agricultural marvel, but staking the lives of an entire population on it was enormously risky.

Sporadic potato crop failures had plagued Ireland in the 1700s and early 1800s. In the mid-1840s, a blight caused by a fungus struck potato plants across all of Ireland.

The failure of essentially the entire potato crop for several years led to unprecedented disaster. Both Ireland and America would be changed forever.

The Irish Potato Famine

The Irish Potato Famine, which in Ireland became known as “The Great Hunger,” was a turning point in Irish history. It changed Irish society forever, most strikingly by greatly reducing the population.

In 1841, Ireland’s population was more than eight million. It has been estimated that at least one million died of starvation and disease in the late 1840s, and at least another one million immigrated during the famine.

Famine hardened resentment toward the British who ruled Ireland. Nationalist movements in Ireland, which had always ended in failure, would now have a powerful new component: sympathetic Irish immigrants living in America.

Scientific Causes

The botanical cause of the Great Famine was a virulent fungus (Phytophthora infestans), spread by the wind, that first appeared on the leaves of potato plants in September and October of 1845. The diseased plants withered with shocking speed. When the potatoes were dug up for harvest, they were found to be rotting.

Poor farmers discovered the potatoes they could normally store and use as provisions for six months had turned inedible.

Modern potato farmers spray plants to prevent blight. But in the 1840s, the blight was not well understood, and unfounded theories spread as rumors. Panic set in.

The failure of the potato harvest in 1845 was repeated the following year, and again in 1847.

Social Causes

In the early 1800s, a large part of the Irish population lived as impoverished tenant farmers, generally in debt to British landlords. The need to survive on small plots of rented land created the perilous situation where vast numbers of people depended on the potato crop for survival.

Historians have long noted that while Irish peasants were forced to subsist on potatoes, other crops were being grown in Ireland, and food was exported for market in England and elsewhere. Beef cattle raised in Ireland were also exported for English tables.

British Government Reaction

The response of the British government to the calamity in Ireland has long been a focus of controversy. Government relief efforts were launched, but they were largely ineffective. More modern commentators have noted that economic doctrine in 1840s Britain generally accepted that poor people were bound to suffer and government intervention was not warranted.

The issue of English culpability in the catastrophe in Ireland made headlines in the 1990s, during commemorations marking the 150th anniversary of the Great Famine. Britain’s then-Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed regret over England’s role during commemorations of the 150th anniversary of the famine. The “New York Times” reported at the time that “Mr. Blair stopped short of making a full apology on behalf of his country.”


It is impossible to determine precise numbers of the dead from starvation and disease during the Potato Famine. Many victims were buried in mass graves, their names unrecorded.

It has been estimated that at least half a million Irish tenants were evicted during the famine years.

In some places, particularly in the west of Ireland, entire communities simply ceased to exist. The residents either died, were driven off the land, or chose to find a better life in America.

Leaving Ireland

Irish immigration to America proceeded at a modest pace in the decades before the Great Famine. It has been estimated that only 5,000 Irish immigrants per year arrived in the United States prior to 1830.

The Great Famine increased those numbers astronomically. Documented arrivals during the famine years are well over half a million. It is assumed that many more arrived undocumented, perhaps by landing first in Canada and walking into the United States.

By 1850, the population of New York City was said to be 26 percent Irish. An article titled “Ireland in America” in the “New York Times” on April 2, 1852, recounted the continuing arrivals:

On Sunday last three thousand emigrants arrived at this port. On Monday there were over two thousand. On Tuesday over five thousand arrived. On Wednesday the number was over two thousand. Thus in four days twelve thousand persons were landed for the first time upon American shores. A population greater than that of some of the largest and most flourishing villages of this State was thus added to the City of New York within ninety-six hours.

Irish in a New World

The flood of Irish into the United States had a profound effect, especially in urban centers where the Irish exerted political influence and got involved in municipal government, most notably in the police and fire departments. In the Civil War, entire regiments were composed of Irish troops, such as those of New York’s famed Irish Brigade.

In 1858, the Irish community in New York City had demonstrated that it was in America to stay. Led by a politically powerful immigrant, Archbishop John Hughes, the Irish began building the largest church in New York City. They called it St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and it would replace a modest cathedral, also named for Ireland’s patron saint, in lower Manhattan. Construction was halted during the Civil War, but the enormous cathedral was finally finished in 1878.

Thirty years after the Great Famine, the twin spires of St. Patrick’s dominated the skyline of New York City. And on the docks of lower Manhattan, the Irish kept arriving.


“Ireland in America.” The New York TImes, April 2, 1852.

Lyall, Sarah. “Past as Prologue: Blair Faults Britain in Irish Potato Blight.” The New York Times, June 3, 1997.


Get Real, Get Regular

How To Eat More Fiber At Every Meal To Lose Weight And Get Regular

High Fiber Diet Plan

These high-fiber meal and snack ideas will help you meet your health goals.

A 2016 study found people who reported higher fiber intake from eating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables had an almost 80% greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life over a 10-year follow-up period. That is, they were less likely to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, dementia, depression, and functional disability. It could be that these people made better food choices overall or were more physically active, but it’s definitely worth eating more foods with fiber.

What is fiber?

Found in beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, fiber is the stuff our bodies don’t digest—which is part of what makes it so beneficial. While some fiber is changed by intestinal bacteria into products that are absorbed, most of it travels all the way through your digestive system, basically grabbing and pushing other things through. Unfortunately, many of us fall short on fiber, and because low intake is associated with a range of health concerns, it is considered a nutrient of public health concern.

Fiber is a superhero with powerful benefits. Foods with more fiber help you get regular and bring healthy dividends in the vitamins and minerals they contain. Here are some of the ways fiber can boost your health:

  • Fiber helps you feel full longer, which helps with weight control. Bye-bye, snack attack.
  • Fiber helps fight heart disease by carrying cholesterol compounds out of the body and reducing cholesterol production.
  • Fiber helps slow digestion, which keeps blood sugar stable.
  • Fiber helps your gut health. Researchers at the University of Nebraska found that eating fiber-packed whole grains, such as barley, brown rice, or especially a mix of the two, altered the gut bacteria to reduce inflammation.
  • Fiber acts like a broom, promoting regularity and reducing constipation. It can also help prevent hemorrhoids.

How much fiber do you need?

To know where you’re going, you need to know your goal. Fiber recommendations vary by age and gender. Fiber requirements decrease with age because calorie requirements go down as we age. And women generally need fewer calories than men so general guidelines are 14 grams fiber per 1,000 calories. (Here are 5 signs your body wants you to eat more fiber.)

Use this chart to check your personal fiber needs:

  • Women 19 to 30 years old = 28 grams per day
  • Women 31 to 50 years old = 25 grams per day
  • Women 51 and older = 22 grams per day
  • Men 19 to 30 years old = 34 grams per day
  • Men 31 to 50 years old = 31 grams per day
  • Men 51 and older = 28 grams per day

The winning strategy is to have fiber-rich foods on hand. When they’re in the kitchen or fridge, they become meals and snacks. Make a couple high-fiber recipes each week to help you meet your goal. As you add more fiber, do it gradually to let your digestive tract adjust.

By Judy Barbe, RD writing in Prevention Magazine

You can find recipes and more information at:

The Best Jobs For Every Personality Type


There seems to be an abundance of available jobs here in the U.S. BUT-

Does your job fit your personality?

While the list below is in no way definitive — and personality preferences can be flexible over time — it may serve as a helpful guide for understanding yourself and what sort of personalities gravitate toward certain jobs.
Figure out which type suits you best, and then check out the chart below.

Personality Traits Graphic

Thanks to Business Insider and Richard Feloni and Skye Gould for this Infogram.


Baileys Chocolate Mousse


Perfect timing with St. Patrick’s Day nearly upon us.  Here’s a treat using Bailey’s Irish Cream.  Note:  It does contain a certain amount of alcohol, just a wee drop.  Enjoy !


Cathy of Lemon Tree Dwelling writes thatBaileys Chocolate Mousse is a deliciously light, fluffy chocolate mousse, infused with the sweet flavor of Baileys Irish Cream. This easy dessert recipe is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

Well Cathy, it does look yummy !  So how do you make it ?

Baileys chocolate mousse is deliciously light, fluffy chocolate mousse, infused with the sweet flavor of Baileys Irish Cream. Perfect St. Patrick's Day dessert recipe!

Bailey’s Chocolate Mousse

Deliciously light, fluffy chocolate mousse infused with the sweet flavor of Baileys Irish Cream. Perfect for the holidays!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 (1/2 cup) servings
Author Cathy Trochelman


  • 2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 2 Tbsp. cold water
  • 1/4 c. boiling water
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder for a more intense chocolate flavor, add 1 additional Tbsp.
  • 1 1/2 c. heavy cream very cold
  • 1/2 c. Baileys Irish Cream very cold
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


  1. *Before beginning, prep bowl and beaters by placing in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to chill.*
  2. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl; stir and let stand 1 minute to soften.
  3. Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Let stand to cool.
  4. Stir together sugar and cocoa in a large mixing bowl; add heavy cream.
  5. Beat at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form; gradually pour in Baileys, vanilla, and gelatin mixture, beating continuously at high speed until well-blended and soft peaks form.
  6. Let stand 5 minutes to thicken.
  7. Spoon into serving dishes and place in refrigerator to chill. (*For a faster setting mousse, chill bowls before filling.)
  8. Chill 1 hour or until ready to serve.

I hope you love this Baileys chocolate mousse recipe as much as I do!

I think we will, Cathy.  Thanks a bunch for this recipe.

Why Do We Celebrate President’s Day?

The holiday’s official name is Washington’s Birthday

USA, New York City, Washington Square Park, George Washington monument with American flag in background

Tetra Images / Getty Images

By Patti Wigington &

President’s Day was established in 1832 to celebrate George Washington’s centennial. The annual holiday, which now falls on the third Monday of February, later evolved into a celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday as well, and eventually turned into a day to mark the birthdays and lives of all American presidents—although the holiday’s name was never officially changed to President’s Day.

The First Presidents’ Day

The origins of Presidents’ Day date back to the early nineteenth century, and it all started with George Washington. The first American president was born on February 11, 1731. As the centennial anniversary of his birth approached, Congress announced that festivities in Washington’s honor would be held on February 22, 1832. Why the change in dates?

The answer lies in the history of the modern calendar. Washington’s birth took place before 1752, which was the year that Britain and all of its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar. Thus, Washington’s birthday now fell on February 22, 1732, which meant that a century later, in 1832—instead of 1831—it was time to celebrate. Festivities took place all over the country, including the early adjournment of the Congressional session, followed by the reading of Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address, which has become an annual tradition.

In 1879, Congress passed a bill declaring that February 22, long celebrated as Washington’s birthday, would be designated a federal holiday. At that time, Congress added February 22 to the list of official holidays observed by federal employees in the District of Columbia.

This presented a problem initially, though—some government employees were paid for the day off, but others weren’t. In 1885, Congress solved that issue by declaring that all federal employees, including those employed outside of Washington D.C., were to be paid for all federal holidays.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act

In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved a number of federal holidays to Mondays. This change was adopted so that workers would have several three-day weekends throughout each year, but there was opposition from people who felt that holidays should be observed on the days they actually celebrate.

According to historian C.L. Arbelbide, the Congressional Record highlighted three primary benefits of this change, aimed specifically at families:

  • “Three-day holidays offer greater opportunities for families—especially those whose members may be widely separated—to get together. . . .”
  • “The three-day span of leisure time . . . would allow our citizens greater participation in their hobbies as well as in educational and cultural activities.”
  • “Monday holidays would improve commercial and industrial production by minimizing midweek holiday interruptions of production schedules and reducing employee absenteeism before and after midweek holidays.”

The Uniform Holiday Act went into effect in January, 1971, and declared “Washington’s Birthday, the third Monday in February,” as a legal public holiday.

During discussion about the new act, it was suggested that Washington’s Birthday should be renamed Presidents’ Day in order to honor the birthdays of both Washington and Abraham Lincoln, born on February 12, 1809. However, Congress rejected the name alteration and it was never officially changed. So, why do people still call it Presidents’ Day?

The Meaning of Presidents’ Day Today

You can thank your friendly neighborhood retailer for the use of the term Presidents’ Day. It’s become one of the most popular times of year for sales. While this might seem like an odd season to decide you need to run out and buy a new mattress or a dresser, there’s actually a reason behind the tradition of Presidents’ Day sales on big-ticket items: it’s when people are starting to get their income tax refunds.

Although there have been attempts over the years to formally start calling Washington’s Birthday by its more common name of Presidents’ Day, it’s never happened. In addition, states have the power to call it Presidents’ Day if they wish—the use of the name Washington’s Birthday is found at a federal level. No matter what you choose to call it, if you’re a federal government employee, you’ll get the third Monday in February off each year.

Oprah Winfrey’s $90 Million Montecito Home


I wonder if this was Oprah’s Valentine’s Day gift to herself.  Enjoy !

An aerial view shows Oprah's Montecito mansion.

The Promised Land

Oprah called her property the Promised Land, named after the land that God gave Adam in the Old Testament. Her main home is a 23,000-square-foot mansion in the Neo-Georgian style. It contains six bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a library, theater, and ten fireplaces.

The property also has a fruit orchard, equestrian ring, and luxurious garden. Oprah has called this garden her “sanctuary.” However, she has never demonstrated an interest in training horses in her equestrian ring.

An aerial view shows Oprah's home in Montecito.

The Property

To get to Oprah’s house, you’d have to drive up a long, private driveway. This aerial view shows the home surrounded by lush lawns and pine, eucalyptus, ad oak trees. Although there is a pool, you can’t see it from this angle.

The First Thing That Visitors See

If you were to walk into Oprah’s Montecito home, this is the first thing you would see. The entrance hall includes antique tables that display Oprah’s personal photos. A custard-colored staircase spirals to the upper floors.

Oprah's entrance includes a yellow staircase with a painting and personal photos displayed.

For anyone who likes this layout, Oprah has bad news. In 2013, she suggested that she was planning to remodel the entrance hall. If she has redone it, she hasn’t posted any updated photos. Time will tell if she kept the creamy yellow staircase.

An Elegant Dining Room

Compared to the rest of her house, Oprah’s dining room appears small. But Oprah actually believes that it is too big. In O, Oprah said that she wanted “dinners to reflect my heart and spirit.” She also wants a space to be homey enough for “people to feel free to ask for seconds!”

Oprah's dining room has a table that seats up to ten people.

The dining table seats up to ten people and holds two dramatic candelabras.

Cooking With Oprah

Oprah enjoys several different design styles, and her kitchen is an example of this. Unlike other rooms, the kitchen has a rustic style with chicken statues and gentle, wood-colored walls. The wall behind the stove brings in some Tuscan elements.

Oprahs kitchen shows an island, counter, and fireplace.

A Closet That Many Would Dream About

This is only a portion of Oprah’s massive Montecito closet. If you’ve ever wondered how many outfits she has, now you know. Shelves upon shelves of shoes, cardigans, shirts, and purses create no shortage of fashionable options to wear.

A peek inside Oprah's closet shoes shoes, clothes, and bags neatly stored.

Like the rest of her home, Oprah shows off her design and organization skills here. Her shoes and clothing are mainly color-coded. Oak shelves are bathed in a warm light that makes it feel like a studio. And of course, there’s a TV for entertainment.

Orpah’s Preferred Bathtub

During a 1998 interview with Vogue, Oprah expressed how she spend much time looking for the best quality bathtub. “I majored in bathtubs,” she joked. So it’s no surprise that her tub at Montecito is luxurious.

An opulant bathtub is in Oprah's bathroom at her Montecito estate.

Oprah mentioned that her love of bathrooms came from childhood when she had to clean her family’s single bathtub. Her Montecito bathroom includes a huge circular bathtub and a roomy shower with a seat. And that view of the Santa Ynez mountains is to die for!

A More Muted Living Room

Compared to the other living room, this room’s design is tame. Coral walls and olive green couches are easier on the eyes than the plaid. However, the sheer amount of decorations and ornate pillows adds quite a bit of detail to this room.

One of Oprah's living rooms has coral-colored walls and green couches.

Oprah’s Sanctuary

When Oprah bought her Montecito property, it came with a structure built for a rose garden. But that didn’t suit Winfrey’s taste, according to Veranda. Instead, she adorned her garden with lilies, dahlias, daffodils, irises, and honey dijon.

Oprah's garden features hedge arches, flowers, and wooden arches.

Oprah’s garden was designed by the rose expert Dan Bifano, who also worked for Tom Ford and Barbra Streisand. The entire garden features networks of arches, cypresses, and hedges. It’s no wonder why Oprah called her garden a “sanctuary.”

A $3 Million Statue

If a visitor were to walk the paths around Oprah’s estate, they would come upon an unusual bronze statue. The artwork is called Grupo de quarto Mujeres de Pie and it was made by the Mexican painter and sculptor, Fransisco Zuniga. Reportedly, Oprah paid around $3.1 million for it.

Oprahs statue, the Grupo de quarto mujeres de pie, stands in her yard.

When translated, the statue is called “A Group of Four Standing Women.” Each of the women represents a different stage of life.

Sorry, Oprah didn’t share her bedroom photo’s with us, but there is much more to see at:

Photo credit:   YouTube/The Classy

Abraham Lincoln for ESL Students

Abraham Lincoln with Civil War Advisors


Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States. He is one of our most famous and important presidents. His picture is on the American penny and on the five dollar bill. Many cities, streets, and schools are named after him. In this lesson, you will see pictures of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. I hope you enjoy learning about this famous American. (3 pages)

White House in mid 1800s Who is Abraham Lincoln?

    • Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States.
  • He was president from 1860-1865.
Sample of a Log Cabin When was Abraham Lincoln born?

    • He was born on February 12, 1809.
  • He was born in a log cabin in Kentucky. His family was poor.
American Civil War Gettysburg, 1863 What war was fought when Lincoln was president?

    • The Civil War was fought when Lincoln was president. It was a war between the North and the South.
  • The North won the war.
Slave Peter Was Beaten by His Master with a Whip What happened after the Civil War?

  • After the Civil War, the slaves were freed and the United States become united again.

Which Amendment freed the slaves?

  • The 13th Amendment freed the slaves.
Ford's Theater Where Lincoln Was Shot When did President Lincoln die?

    • He died on April 15, 1865. He was 56 years old.
  • An actor named John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in the back of his head when he was at the Ford Theater in Washington,  D.C.


Lincoln's Tomb Where is Abraham Lincoln buried?

    • He is buried in Springfield, Illinois.
  • His wife Mary and three of their four sons are also buried there.


The Lincoln Memorial Where is the Lincoln Memorial?


Abraham Lincoln Statue Inside Lincoln Monument Was Abraham Lincoln a great president?

    • Yes, he was.
  • He will be remembered forever.