I came across this very interesting piece last week written by Desmond Norton while doing some research on Effin, it is called
Distress and Benevolence on Gertrude Fitzgerald’s Limerick Estate in the 1840s, WP02/14, April 2002
It is gives a fascinating insight into social and economic conditions in Effin particularly around Mound Blakney/Thomastown area in the 1840’s and during the Famine times.
It contains extracts of letters written by tenants of Gertrude Blakney Fitzgerald who was the landlord in Mount Blakney at the time; extract below from Nortons paper quoting some of the letters.
On 27 September 1844 Murnane informed SK that “the potatoes are very bad with most of the tenants”. A letter from John and James Keeffe of Thomastown, 28 October 1844, reported “the total failure of five acres of otatoes …. We are … sending a Memorial to her Ladyship”. The Keeffes were not the only tenants who petitioned Mrs Fitzgerald in October 1844. On 30 October she wrote to Kincaid: “I enclose a Letter which I received … from
Maurice Foley …. I hope you will excuse my troubling you with it, as I am persuaded you will both act impartially, and allow the Tenants any reasonable indulgence you may think them entitled to. Since I wrote the above I received the accompanying Petition from John and James Keefe … which I leave to your better judgement”.
It would be interesting to see what happened the families that emigrated and are they any descendants still in the parish today.
Click on link below to read the paper written by Desmond Norton. Record of Mount Blakney Estate and Tenants during Famine Times
These letters where put up for sale with Adams Auction House in the 2010 but fortunately where withdrawn as there was some question as to their ownership.
Thankfully they where not sold off but remain as a special collection but I am currently trying to locate where they are stored as they may contain more information about Effin during that time.