Yet by exploring a number of themes from a reconstruction of pre-Famine Ireland onwards to an exploration of present-day modes of remembering; by the use of over 150 highly original computer generated parish maps of population decline, social transformation and other key themes between the census years 1841 and 1851: and through the use of poetry, contemporary paintings and accounts, illustrations and modern photography, what this atlas seeks to a achieve is a greater understanding of the event and its impact and legacy. This atlas seeks to try and bear witness to the thousands and thousands of people who died and are buried in mass Famine pits or in fields and ditches, with little or nothing to remind us of their going. The centrality of the Famine workhouse as a place of destitution is also examined in depth. Likewise the atlas seeks to represent and understand the conditions and experiences of the many thousands who emigrated from Ireland in those desperate years. Included are case studies of famine emigrants in cities such as Liverpool, Glasgow, New York and Toronto.
A central concern of the atlas is to seek to understand why a famine of this scale should occur in a nineteenth-century European country, albeit a country which was subject to imperial rule. In addition, it seeks to reveal in detail the working-out and varying consequences of the Famine across the island. To this end, apart from presenting an overall island-wide picture, Famine experiences and patterns will be presented separately for the four provinces. These provincial explorations will be accompanied by intimate case studies of conditions in particular localities across the provinces. The atlas also seeks to situate the Great Irish Famine in the context of a number of world famines. To achieve these goals and understandings, the atlas includes contributions from a wide range of scholars who are experts in their fields - from the arts, folklore, geography, history, archaeology, Irish and English languages and literatures.