The Irish winter of 1947 was the coldest and longest of the 20th Century. From shortly after Christmas to almost Easter, the country was gripped by snow and ice; transport ground to a halt. The normal supply of goods and services was suspended.
All this happened in a country much poorer than modern Ireland. It was only two years after the end of the war. There was still rationing in Britain. The Irish economy was woefully underdeveloped. There was no central heating, and the distribution systems for coal and turf broke down. Even in relatively affluent middle class suburbs, people were reduced to breaking up furniture for kindling in an attempt to keep warm. In rural parts, the old and vulnerable were hopelessly isolated. People died.
In time, the memory faded and it was just remembered as an exceptionally cold winter. Kevin Kearns gets behind the headlines to reveal in tremendous detail the hardship, depravation and loss of life that gripped a vulnerable country as a result of an extended period of freakishly cold weather.
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