LAST NIGHT, a new two-part documentary series about Ireland's Great Hunger aired its final episode to hugely positive reviews.
The Hunger: The Story of the Irish Famine, a documentary on one of the most catastrophic parts of Ireland's history, aired its first episode on RTÉ last week.
Narrated by Liam Neeson, the documentary cleverly combines illustrations of the country at the time with modern-day images of Ireland, along with quotes from people affected by the catastrophe and analysis from historians.
The two-part series aired its second and final episode last night, and was praised for not shying away from the sheer horror experienced by those on the island, the irreversible change to Irish culture and the fact that the calamity was, tragically, wholly preventable.
Liam Neeson narrates a two-part documentary marking the 175th anniversary of the famine which resulted in the deaths of over one million people and had a devastating impact on Irish society.
WATCH | #TheHunger : The Story Of The Irish Famine part I and II on demand @RTEplayer pic.twitter.com/dBFcx20ABE
— RTÉ (@rte) December 8, 2020
In the seven years of the famine, more than half a million people were evicted from their homes, with nowhere to go and no work or food to be had-- despite food continuing to be shipped to Britain-- forcing one million people to emigrate and one million more to die.
Following the episode, hundreds took to social media to air their views, with many agreeing that despite it being a harrowing watch, the documentary did an excellent job in telling the tragic story.
"Harrowing and enraging," one person on Twitter wrote about the show, while another admitted "I found it hard to watch."
"Excellent documentary," one man wrote on Twitter. "Class based murder by indifference."
RTÉ journalist Brian O'Connell said he found The Hunger to be an "emotional watch", revealing "My ancestors in Clare were evicted ... for voting for Daniel O'Connell in 1828.
"They somehow survived that [and] 20 years later the Famine."
Found #TheHunger an emotional watch. My ancestors in Clare were evicted from Vandeleur estate for voting for Daniel O’Connell in 1828. They somehow survived that + 20 years later the Famine. My Grandad born in 1916 - must have known people who survived it. It’s that close...
— Brian O'Connell (@oconnellbrian) December 8, 2020
"Compelling, harrowing, informative documentary," One woman, Martine Brennan added. "The empty spaces on the map afterwards speak volumes."
Population-wise, Ireland has never recovered from the seven-year famine that devastated the country, with almost every county on the island still suffering a huge decline in numbers.
The mass immigration and deaths also led to a severe decline in the use of the Irish language, a tragic consequence still being felt today.
The Hunger is based on the book Atlas of the Great Irish Famine from Cork University Press, which you can find here.
You can watch both episodes of The Hunger: The Story of the Irish Famine on RTÉ Player (here).