Ireland's Arctic Siege: The Big Freeze of 1947

Ireland's Arctic Siege: The Big Freeze of 1947

Paperback

By (author) Kevin C. Kearns

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  • Publisher: Gill & Macmillan Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 32mm | 422g
  • Publication date: 15 October 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Dublin
  • ISBN 10: 0717154483
  • ISBN 13: 9780717154487
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations, maps, black & white plates
  • Sales rank: 191,966

Product description

On 19 January 1947 Ireland was invaded by a "freakish" anticyclonic weather phenomenon that lasted for two months. The arctic siege brought freezing temperatures of -14 Centigrade (7 F), a piercing east wind reaching 60-70 m.p.h., five major blizzards, and snowdrifts of 12 to 20 feet-some topping 50. Cars, buses, houses and entire villages were buried, roads were blocked, telephone and electricity lines felled and towns and farms isolated as food and fuel dwindled. Tragically this happened amidst the worst fuel crisis in Ireland's history. People were forced to strip wood from their homes, and nearly half of all Dubliners were burning furniture to survive. By 19 February 1947 Dublin's death rate had more than doubled as the poor and elderly succumbed to hunger, cold and illness. Kevin C. Kearns presents a graphic account of what was regarded as a near-biblical calamity of blizzards, freezing, hunger, floods and threatened famine. This is a vivid tale of suffering and courage, death and survival, of human resilience and real heroism, poignantly authenticated by the oral testimony of those who lived through the arctic siege.

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Author information

Kevin C. Kearns PhD is a social historian and professor emeritus at the University of Northern Colorado. He has made thirty-eight research trips to Ireland, a number of which were funded by the National Geographic Society. Of his ten books on Dublin, five have been bestsellers, most notably Dublin Tenement Life, which was number 1 on the Irish Times bestseller list for many weeks. He now resides in the coastal village of Camden, Maine.

Review quote

"Reveals tales of heroism and tragedy - a fascinating read" Richard Oakley, The Sunday Times