Yes, We Have No Potatoes!

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

It was about 1845 when the Irish Potato Famine started and went on for the next 7-8 years. Much of the middle and all of the lower class made potatoes the bulk of their diet. One million people died in that time, and one million emigrated in vastly over-cramped ships, to Canada, America, and Australia. Most times they went as indentured servants in lieu of the fare for the voyage.

In the mid 1840’s my X great grandfather, Archibald Buie, a sea captain by trade, left the Isle of Islay and took his last voyage to Ontario, Canada with his family of three children. Islay is off the coast of Northern Ireland but belongs to Scotland. ┬áIt is pure conjecture that the famine was part of his story: did he ferry immigrants or see the oncoming tragedy? Archibald, and his father and father in-law were all sea captains in a treacherous part of the world for sailing.The timing was right, and it captures my imagination of what their childhoods, apprenticeships,and day to day life at sea must have been like, as well as for those they loved and were kept waiting back home in Bowmore, Islay.

From Ontario, a branch of the tree went to Kansas, then to New Jersey and this twig to San Diego. How many of you have Irish ancestry because of the famine that brought them west? Do you bleed a little bit green?

The potato blight has long been eradicated and the national food is once again potatoes; there wasn’t a single meal I was served in my 5 weeks in Ireland that didn’t include potatoes!!

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