One of the papers presented at the IEEE History of Telecommunications Conference in Newfoundland last July looked at the first transatlantic cables from an Irish perspective. The writer is a Postgraduate Student at the University of Limerick and has studied the local impact of the cable as a relatively poor and isolated community suddenly found itself at a hub in the worldwide telecommunications network.
Between 1845 and 1850, more than a million Irish people starved to death while massive quantities of food were being exported from Ireland (see Fig. 1). A half million were evicted from their homes during the potato blight and a million and a half emigrated to America, Britain, and Australia. While Britain provided much relief for Ireland's starving populace, many Irish criticized Britain's delayed response-and blamed centuries of British political oppression as the underlying cause of the famine.