Amid the bleak winter, hundreds of thousands of desperate Irish sought work on public works relief projects. By late December 1846, 500,000 men, women and children were at work building stone roads. Paid by piece-work, the men broke apart large stones with hammers then placed the fragments in baskets carried by the women to the road site where they were dumped and fit into place. They built roads that went from nowhere to nowhere in remote rural areas that had no need of such roads in the first place. Many of the workers, poorly clothed, malnourished and weakened by fever, fainted or even dropped dead on the spot.
It's a beautiful place, and a heartbreaking place.