The question is often asked, why didn’t the Irish go fishing during the famine?

The Great Famine also known as the Great Hunger or the Great Starvation and sometimes referred to as the Irish Potato Famine mostly outside Ireland was a period of mass starvation and disease in Ireland from 1845 to 1849. With the most severely affected areas in the west and south of Ireland, where the Irish language was dominant, the period was contemporaneously known in Irish as An Drochshaol, loosely translated as the "hard times" (or literally, "The Bad Life").

The worst year of the period was 1847, known as "Black '47".During the famine, about one million people died and a million more emigrated, causing Ireland's population to fall by between 20% and 25%.

The proximate cause of the famine was a natural event, a potato blight, which infected potato crops throughout Europe during the 1840s, also causing some 100,000 deaths outside Ireland and influencing much of the unrest in the widespread European Revolutions of 1848. From 1846, the impact of the blight was exacerbated by the Whig government's economic policy of laissez-faire capitalism. Longer-term causes include the system of absentee landlordism, and single-crop dependence.

The famine was a watershed in the history of Ireland, which from 1801 to 1922 was ruled directly by Westminster as part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The famine and its effects permanently changed the island's demographic, political, and cultural landscape, producing an estimated two million refugees and spurring a century-long population decline.

For both the native Irish and those in the resulting diaspora, the famine entered folk memory. The strained relations between many Irish and their government soured further because of the famine, heightening ethnic and sectarian tensions and boosting Irish nationalism and republicanism in Ireland and among Irish emigrants in the United States and elsewhere.

Documentarian John Percival explains, the "famine became part of the long story of betrayal & exploitation which led to the growing movement in Ireland for independence".

The potato blight returned to Europe in 1879, but by that point the Land War, described as one of the largest agrarian movements to take place in 19th-century Europe, had begun in Ireland.

The movement, organized by the Land League, continued the political campaign for the Three Fs, issued in 1850 by the Tenant Right League during the Great Famine. When the potato blight returned in the 1879 famine the League boycotted "notorious landlords" and its members physically blocked evictions of farmers; the consequent reduction in homelessness and house demolition resulted in a drastic reduction in the number of deaths.