5th September 1832
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A snapshot of local history from the Cholera Epidemic in Ireland (1832-33).


We regret to state, that the cholera still continues to rage to a frightful extent in Sligo. Many of the inhabitants have fled from the town, and taken shelter the woods: in some places tents are erected, where as many as could get room have taken up their abode, and others are living at the sides of ditches, exposed to the inclemency of the weather, who are consequently in a most wretched condition; others are determined to stand their ground, believing the Almighty be as strong in Sligo as anywhere else ! and thank God, many of them have proved his goodness and mercy.

The town is almost quite clear of the labouring classes, they having repaired to the woods; those who remain in town are very badly off for provisions, the country people being afraid to come in.

In consequence of the servants having almost generally run off, families are in a bad way for messengers. A shilling is not infrequently charged by persons who carry water about for a can full; every house is closed with the exception of one shop, which is kept open to supply the people with groceries.

A medical friend of ours favoured us with a letter yesterday, giving us a melancholy account. He says:–

"The disease is still on the increase; the persons who die during the night are not interred till next morning when thirty or forty are often buried in one pit! No respect of persons here—some who would not condescend to sit together in the same seat in the house of worship, are thrown promiscuously into a grave without coffins or shrouds !” 

What a humbling lesson! A correspondent this morning says—

“ Yesterday morning I spent looking for joint meat, but could not get one for love or money; I then went to my farm drive home a sheep, but there was none there; they had all strayed away—no not one to mind them,— After a long search, I succeeded in purchasing one from a poor peasant; drove it home, killed it, saved the blood, and my family and I made one of the heartiest dinners we ever eat. If the Lord does not soon stay the plague, fear few will live to tell the sad fate of our once happy, but now; unfortunate Sligo. The cry of the widows and orphans through the streets, is truly awful. The respectable people who remain in town are nearly as badly off as the lower orders, for money is of little use at present; we cannot escape from this, as the neighbouring towns will not allow us in.''— Ballyshannon Herald. 

Doctor Coyne has just recovered from a severe attack of the Cholera. Any attempt of mine to describe the state of the Town would prove fruitless—all business is completely stand—Mr Martin’s extensive Flour Mills and Distillery are closed—as also Mr Anderson’s Brewery, the labourers having all fled.

Two to three shops are the very most open in each street. Hearses and Cholera Carts are the only vehicles seen passing through the Town. 

Cholera has made its appearance among the military stationed in the Barracks of Sligo and several cases have already occurred.

The people in the neighbourhood of Sligo made the most determined efforts to cut off all communication with the town and broke down the Bridges the direction of Boyle, Ballina, and Manorhamilton, which for a time suspended the communication, but they were speedily repaired. 

SOURCE: Limerick Chronicle - 5 September 1832

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