Fighting The Land War In Ireland
The tenants and landlords ended up in conflict over a number of issues, including land consolidation and the transition from tillage to grazing. There was also tension between English law and Irish custom, as the English law protected absolute rights of the landlord, while Irish custom allowed the tenant an “interest” in the property. When William Gladstone passed the Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act in 1870 to protect departing tenants, landlords tried to evade provisions, which only increased tensions. At this time, agrarian crimes began to rise. Then, in the late 1870s, the west of Ireland was hit by famine. From 1877-1881, the potato crop collapsed, and poultry was devastated by a cholera epidemic. During the famine, heavy rains, poor yields, and low prices led to widespread hunger.