Free diary entry   Leave a comment

This is a free diary entry of the Irish Famine, a.k.a The Great Hunger. It is an extract from ‘Blue-Sky Thinking’, my new book designed for the modern classroom. I hope you like the post.


Dear diary, 26th November, 1847
I am so afraid. My hands are trembling as I write this. I don’t know if I can go on any longer. Mary passed away yesterday and we had to leave her there and go on. We are trying to get to the workhouse in Clonmel but there are rumours it is closed down. If it is, we are surely doomed. I am terrified that we will be next to fall and that we won’t get up again.

My teeth are beginning to fall out and my stomach is bloated from hunger. It seems that every nettle and weed has been plucked from the ditches and the trees are bare of leaves too. We got by on watery soup until now and Sean caught the last, wild rabbit left in Tipperary two weeks ago. We were overjoyed with that and it gave us both nourishment and hope. Every time we try to catch a fish from the river armed men drive us off and claim that we don’t have the right to come onto their land. They are foul men and I hate them. Can they not see we are starving? They are worse than the packs of feral dogs that dig up the bones of the dead.

It is the brigands who are the worst, though. They gather in large groups and attack people like us who have been driven off the land. They take everything you have: pots, snares, rings and even your clothes. These are dark times. Through God’s mercy we have avoided them and I am grateful for that. The potato fields are black with decay and a foul smell hangs over the country. I am broken hearted at what Ireland has become.

As I write, a sour mist is forming, driven towards us by a thin wind. Up to now, the weather has been mild but I have heard stories from the West of men and women being killed by the cruel winds up there. They just don’t have the energy to fight off both man and nature. I have seen people who would make your soul bleed with pity. They are like scarecrows and their yellow faces are pinched, with sunken eyes. They stumble like they are drunk and cling to little children who look like a bundle of rags. I hope I don’t look like them. Do you think God is punishing us for something we did to him? If that is true, I will say a few extra prayers tonight and he may save us.

I have to go now, diary. I just don’t have the strength to write about this horror any more. If God is merciful, I will write again tomorrow. If not, you will know what has happened to me.
‘Till then

A diary should contain a lot of emotions. Write down the different emotions present in this one.

Do you think this is a sad diary entry? Why? Why not?

Do you think it is historically accurate or would it have been a lot worse back then than this diary entry?

Write the diary entry of a 12-year-old boy living through the famine using different emotions.

You can check out ‘Blue-Sky Thinking’ on or It comes with a ‘Teachers’ Guide’ which does most of the work for the teacher! It has advice on mindfulness and nutrition, life maps, lots of descriptive grids, riddles, punctuation and grammar exercises, poetry modules and many more surprises! Just click the link below to see the first 8 pages for yourself.


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