Gratuitous Famine Relief Book 1847 Goes On Display In Thurles

The recently discovered ‘Gratuitous Relief Ration Record Book,’ (or the ‘Distribution Book,’ as it was also called,) for the electoral divisions of Holycross, Thurles and Ballycahill in 1847, has now been digitized, allowing an instant search facility for those anxious to trace their family roots.

The rare book, found in private collection, is now on public display at St. Mary’s Famine Museum here in Thurles and will be available to be viewed by all those attending the forthcoming Thurles Sarsfields International Festival Of Gaelic Sport (July 4th – 12th 2014).

This book contains the names of those who were classed as paupers in the hinterland / towns-lands of these aforementioned areas, during that most harrowing period of the Great Irish Famine, referred to as ‘Black ’47’.

This extremely rare ‘Rations Record Book,’ contains the names of the heads of each household and in many cases the names of all the adults in each household. It also contains the number of rations each householder was allowed.

Just over 3 million Irish people were being supported by outdoor relief in July 1847. To those it supported, covering the electoral divisions of Holycross, Thurles and Ballycahill while providing records of the food rations distributed in the period May – Sept. `47 and part of `48, it was a very humiliating and an insufficient system. Nevertheless it did keep starvation at bay for a very sizeable portion of Tipperary people at that crucial time in Black ’47.

Admission to St Mary’s Famine Museum costs just €2.00.

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3 Responses to Gratuitous Famine Relief Book 1847 Goes On Display In Thurles

  1. Pingback: Irelands Festival Of Gaelic Sport Begins In Thurles Next Weekend | Thurles Information

  2. Bill Rogers says:

    My great great grandmother Honora Ryan was born in Thurles in 1834 and came out to Australia on the ‘Travancore’, the first of four ‘bride ships’ to arrive in WA in 1853. I know she was not selected for the voyage from the Thurles workhouse and would love to know if there are any other records which could shed light on her selection. I am also very keen to see if her family (parents John and Judith Ryan) is mentioned in the 1847 Ration Record Book. I note that it has been digitised. Is there any move to put it up online for all to see? Failing that, is there any way I could arrange for a search to be done for me?

  3. Stephen says:


    Does anyone know the fate of this rare gem since the Famine Museum has closed? Is there a digitized copy available and/or is the original being maintained?


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