Kildorrery Population Decline

The population of Kildorrery today is less than one quarter of what it was when records were first taken in the 1830s. Throughout the 19th century the local population decreased at the national average of 10% per decade but accelerated to 30% between 1840-50, due to the Great Famine. Kildorrery ranked as one of the worst hit rural areas. The pre-Famine maps which can now be viewed on line, show hundreds of tiny homesteads dotted along the Ballyhoura hills and other rural roads. Many of the occupants of these cabins were the people who crossed the Atlantic.

Why Did They Go?

Donald MacKay in his book ‘Flight from Famine:
The Coming of the Irish to Canada’, describes how long before the Famine the Irish were leaving for the New World of Canada and the U.S.A. He also describes the appalling conditions they left behind.

One chapter of the book is dedicated to the ‘Peter Robinson Settlements’ of 1823-25. These settlements are significant as they were the forerunner for assisted passage which is how many Irish people made it to the New World for the rest of the 19th century and escaped from poverty.

Where Did They Go?

While many of the assisted passengers were bound for Canada (then known as ‘British America’), most made their way south to the fledgling U.S.A., where a never before seen drive of nation building presented huge opportunity in the many public works being undertaken. Britain also was always an opportunity for Irish immigrants from when the Industrial Revolution presented opportunities of work in the many factories and associated public works.
(Image: Wedding of Local Family in New Jersey, U.S.A. 1930s)

Today

Today it is believed that Ireland has a Diaspora of some 70 million scattered across the globe. That means for every one living in Ireland there are 12 abroad! The highest percentage live in the U.S.A. then Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. Even for a small place like Kildorrery it means that there could be over 15,000 people around the world who can trace their roots to this parish and that is where we are willing to offer any help we can and have had great success since we started just a few years ago. 

(Image: The Fouhy descendants and local Ireland Reaching out Volunteers pictured at the house their ancestor was born in and left for the U.S.A. over 150 years ago.)

Ireland Reaching Out

Ireland Reaching Out was set up over the last 10 years and is a web site that anyone can contact and post a request for information on the parish page of where their ancestors were from. The requests are answered by Local volunteers who have a unique knowledge of their local parish. Click here to contact Kildorrery Reaching Out.

You can also contact Kildorrery Community Office where we can put you in touch with the relevant people who can handle your request.