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The Great Famine, The Potato Famine, An Gorta Mór (translates as The Great Hunger) -it is known by many names, but they all generally refer to the period 1845 - 1850 when the Irish potato crop failed due to blight. Over 30% of the population of the day (population 8.4 million) were said to be wholly dependent on the crop as their only source of food and despite previous failures of the crop, the government had no Plan B to deal with this greatest loss. There were quite a few social and political reasons why the impact was so severe in Ireland. The early 18th century started to see a relaxing of the Penal Laws, which had prevented Catholics from having a trade, from seeking education, from practising their faith or indeed from even living within 5 miles of certain principal towns. While socially and politically these draconian conditions were slowly relaxing the circumstances that lead to dependence on the vegetable were inevitable as it became the year round poor-mans food.