TRC #556: Talking Irish Famine Myths With Professor Buzzkill

This week we bring you a special episode after an Irish listener writes in and asks us to fact-check myths surrounding the Irish Famine. Luckily friend of the show, historian and author Joe Coohill, literally wrote the book on Ireland. Better known as Professor Buzzkill from the awesome podcast of the same name, Joe helps us set the record straight debunking historical myths on the tragedy.

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Professor Buzzkill



Ireland: A Short History

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5 Responses to TRC #556: Talking Irish Famine Myths With Professor Buzzkill

  1. Rich W. says:

    Thanks, Professor Buzzkill and Reality Check crew, for another deep dive into the nuances of history. ExtraCredits (on YouTube) recently did a series on the Irish Famine and, as you all noted, the truth about what happened was VERY complicated. The bit about forgetting all the lessons in later times was a bit disheartening though; more disheartening is that itself is now more fodder for the “It was intentional genocide!” crowd… though I’m sure the other-ization of racism still has an effect to this day too.

    (…or I’ve been listening to way too much Ezra Klein lately and am over-analyzing. 😉 )

    • Pat says:

      Thanks for the feedback! Definitely complicated, going into I was pretty ignorant on the topic. Professor Buzzkill is awesome and it was a sober history lesson.

  2. John Copley says:

    While I’ve enjoyed your programmes, I’m appalled by this. What a disgrace. Difficult to believe this man has ever opened a book on the Irish famine outside of a British home office propaganda pamphlet of the 1840s. Completely contrary to the scholarship and the voluminous British documentary record on the subject. If you have any integrity you will invite a credited research historian to discuss the historical record over this man’s lazy fantasy. Even a potted history such as this link to a video presentation from the Gravel Institute would give greater insight. Their for anyone wanting a reality check. For shame. Irish and British of integrity of every stripe, and I am Irish of English heritage, know the reality. Check it.

  3. John Copley says:

    My post was harsh and not intended to be personal. I withdraw any implication that your guest is anything other than sincere and a historian of integrity. His work is of genuine importance on the subject and I would urge others to read up on it.

    • Pat says:

      Thank you for your follow up. Dr. Coohill is indeed a knowledgeable historian on the subject having published many things including a book on the history of Ireland. As he said: the British government got a lot of things wrong but he rejects the idea of a plot.

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