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Skibbereen was one of the most badly affected towns in Ireland during the Famine. Huge numbers of the local population emigrated or died of starvation or disease. ‘The accounts are not exaggerated – they cannot be exaggerated – nothing more frightful can be conceived.’ So wrote Lord Dufferin and GF Boyle, who journeyed from Oxford to Skibbereen in February 1847 to see if reports of the Famine were true. Their eyewitness account makes horrific reading; Dufferin was so appalled by what he saw that he contributed £1000 (about €100, 000 in today’s money) to the relief effort.