19 days ago
Last edited at 5:41PM on 2/20/2014
The potato famine was caused by an unknown thing that they couldn't stop, and it killed whole villages. The people died of starvation. There was no helping them. The dead bodies created disease. So, in order to try to slow the spread down, and keep others from getting infected, they buried the people as quickly as they could. No time to make caskets, or have formal funerals. You died, you got burried. There was no time for being sorrowful or respectful. People were dying every day by the thousands.
For a coffin, you had to have money. Because of the thousands upon thousands dying weekly, coffins were expensive and material impossible to get. Plus, if you're starving yourself and weak from hunger you have no energy to build one yourself for your family members. Many people died and their bodies stayed and rotted where they dropped, or their body was put in a mass burial trench, or put in a shallow grave by weakened family members. . For a funeral, you need family members to arrange it and attend it. Many many entire families died. Quite often priests and pastors volunteered (or were asked) to say words over mass burials. Sometimes it was done secretly without services, as some recent studies of workhouse mass graves seem to show. This was a dark shameful (for the English government) event in Irish history. . Here's an article on the Irish Potato Famine that will give you a vivid picture. http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/famine/hunger.htm . Another aspect is disease, which contributed greatly to the death toll. Lack of Vitamin C from potatoes led to widespread Scurvy. Typhus and other diseases spread fast and wide, because traditional Irish hospitality forbade turning away beggars if you had anything at all to share and many people had been turned off their land or were traveling to find work for food.