a famine in Ireland in 1845-46, caused when the failure of the potato crop led to a serious lack of food all over the country. As a result, many people died of hunger and many others left Ireland to go to live in the US. The British government, which at that time ruled Ireland, did very little to help people who were suffering, and some Irish people still feel upset and angry about this.
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
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