Black 47 Movie Poster

Trivia for Black 47

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  • The term 'black 47' refers to the summer of 1847, when the Irish potato famine was at its height and hundreds of thousands of people died from starvation.
  • The quote from Lord Kilmichael, "soon a Celt will be as rare in Ireland as a Red Indian on the shores of Manhattan", comes from the James Joyce book Ulysses.
  • In the 1840s, a potato blight destroyed the potato crop across Europe, leaving the peasants who relied on potatoes as a staple destitute. Flanders and Prussia lost roughly a third of their population to starvation and emigration. In the United Kingdom, whole villages in Cornwall became ghost towns as people deserted their homes in a desperate quest for food. The blight ravaged Scotland, which was already suffering under the Highland clearances. Ireland, on the outskirts of Europe with little industry or natural resources and having suffered under centuries of privation under English (later British) rule, was the worst affected in the period known throughout Europe as the 'Hungry Forties'. However the case in Ireland was somewhat different, Ireland was under foreign occupation and in fact English landlords and merchants profited from exports of food from Ireland throughout the famine. The Irish who died or fled to other countries did so not because of a lack of food but because of deliberate British economic policies (laissez-faire) and a failure by the occupying power to understand the reality of life in the West of Ireland, in particular the lack of infrastructural development caused by the policies of earlier British administrations.
  • No actual events such as this occurred in Europe during the famine of the 1840s. It resembles the French commune rising of 1832. The failure of the harvest caused mass starvation in France, killing 16,000 people in Paris alone. As a result, the poor revolted and fought pitched battles in the streets with police and soldiers, inspiring Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.
  • The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2018.
  • The quote from Lord Kilmichael, "there are those who look forward to the day when a Celtic Irishman is as rare in Ireland as a Red Indian in Manhattan", is from a purported editorial in the Times of London written during the famine. James Joyce adapted this in his 1922 novel Ulysses, "... and the Times rubbed its hands and told the whitelivered Saxons there would soon be as few Irish in Ireland as redskins in America."
  • Even during the worst years of the Famine, Ireland exported large amounts of food. During the 1782-83 famine ports were closed to keep Irish-grown food in Ireland causing local food prices to drop. The British government introduced no such export ban during the 1840s. Almost 4,000 vessels carried food from Ireland to the ports of Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool, and London during 1847, when 400,000 Irish men, women, and children died of starvation and related diseases. Exports of calves, bacon, and ham actually increased during the Famine. This food was shipped from the most famine-stricken parts of Ireland: Ballina, Ballyshannon, Bantry, Dingle, Killala, Kilrush, Limerick, Sligo, Tralee, and Westport.
  • At the end of the film, before the end credits, there is the following dedication: "in memory of all those who died, and those who went away, never to return."
  • The knife used by Martin Feeney is a kukri/khukuri. Originally from the Indian subcontinent, it is mostly associated with the Nepali speaking Gurkhas of Nepal and India. First seen by the British during the Anglo-Nepalese War or Gurkha War of 1814 - 1816.
  • Someone above says no events like this happened in Europe. You lie. Events like this are not based on the French. They are based squarely in Ireland. Stop spreading your fake misinformation and learn some Irish history.
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