About antique maps of Ireland
“On the green banks of Shannon, when Sheelah was nigh,
No blithe Irish lad was so happy as I;
No harp like my own could so cheerily play,
And wherever I went was my poor dog Tray.
Thomas Campbell 1777-1844
The Chronicle of Ireland records that in 431 AD Bishop Palladius arrived on a mission from Pope Celestine I to minister to the Irish who already believed in Christ. The same chronicle records that Saint Patrick, arrived the following year. Around that time metalworking, sculpture and manuscript illumination flourished and produced treasures such as the Book of Kells.
The Great Famine began as a natural catastrophe, but its effects were severely worsened by the actions of the Whig government, headed by Lord John Russell in the crucial years from 1846 to 1852. About a million people are reliably estimated to have died of starvation and epidemic disease between 1846 and 1851, and some two million emigrated in a period of a little more than a decade (1845-55). By the end of the decade, half of all immigration to the United States was from Ireland.