While P.S. Gilmore prepared for his departure from Athlone in September of 1849, the papers are filled with example of the depraved conditions that existed in the area and elsewhere throughout the country.  An example of this is the following short article about cholera in the town. It is little wonder that Gilmore left within six months.

The Cholera

We regret to say that within the last week this terrible pestilence has assumed a rather virulent form in this town, the total number of cases in the town up to this day were 63: Deaths 34, remained under treatment 29.  In the workhouse from the 16th to this day, there were 102 cases: Recoveries 25, convalescent 14, deaths 30, remaining under treatment 39 (20 women, 6 girls, 5 men and 8 boys). The Master of the Workhouse died of the disease this day.

The Athlone Sentinel, May 23rd, 1849

Views: 1487

Tags: Athlone, Disease, Famine, Immigration, Westmeath

Comment by Gerry Regan on January 20, 2015 at 8:39am

Would like to learn more about cholera, and how it was spread.

Comment by Darvis McCoy on January 20, 2015 at 10:05am

Cholera is a waterborne disease, spread through lack of understanding of how to handle sewage.

Comment by Jim Curley on January 20, 2015 at 5:14pm

There was a great series on PBS last fall called How We Got To Now. One episode focused on how we got to Clean in modern living. It talked about a 19th century cholera epidemic in Chicago where the city had developed a sewer system but was then just dumping the sewage into the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. It was believed at the time that cholera was caused by something in the air. Then, someone put a grid over a map of downtown Chicago marking places where cholera was found. The man discovered a complete city block where there were no incidences of cholera. What was there?  A brewery where the only water being drunk was used to make beer.

When Chicago began to treat sewage, cholera disappeared.


Heritage Partner
Comment by That's Just How It Was on January 21, 2015 at 7:42am

Cholera was a illness that  was caused by the sewage of both human and animal waste ; resulting in a death toll that ran alongside the Great Hunger in terms of deaths .

Combined with this - Ireland and its people were not only at the mercy of the Landlord and British Establishment; they suffered other illness that were cause by neglect and  the lack of any infrastructure that would clean the sewage . It would be many decades/generations  before any noticeable infrastructure would be completed to wipe out cholera . 

Comment by Jarlath MacNamara on January 22, 2015 at 8:59am

1849  The cleaniness of Athlone according to the the St Peters Board of Health

> IN Shamble Land and around the Pump the houses require Whitewashing and the yards require cleaning

> Patrick St Connaught St all require whitewashing and yards cleaned.

> Queen St in a filthy state

> The manure is on the streets in heaps .

An argument began about the expense of £5 spent taking down a house and how the money should be recovered .

>Another note from the same paper headlined SPIRITS

The Quantity distilled in Ireland for the year ending Jan 5th 1849 was of Malt 34,897 gals , malt with unmalted grain  7,957,000 gals , sugar or molasses , with unmalted grain 126,282 gals . Total 8,126.307 gals


Heritage Partner
Comment by That's Just How It Was on January 26, 2015 at 6:12am

As a child ; I remember whitewashing the the outdoor toilet and yard with my Grandmother . I also remember walking to the top of Bray Head Bray Co Wicklow ; and watching all the sewerage  flow out into the Irish sea. This of course was long before modern infrastructure was constructed to manage the sewerage  .

Bray is on the Eastern coast of Ireland ; approx 12 miles south of Dublin and Bray is  small mountain that overlooks the Town of Bray .

Comment by Darvis McCoy on January 26, 2015 at 8:26am

Very interesting, Mary.

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