11. Ireland too, suffered from the natural catastrophe, adding to its national woes
During the summer, or rather the lack of a summer, in 1816 the Irish agricultural society, somewhat prejudicially believed to consist solely of potatoes, suffered enormous losses due to the weather. The chill damp produced a persistent blight which resisted all attempts to eradicate it, and the Irish wheat crop was decimated. The heavy rains ensured that the corn crop, vital to the Irish economy, was also destroyed. With over 80% of the Irish population dependent upon agriculture the economic effect of the crop failures was devastating. Public relief fell to the churches, which for the most part were ill equipped to handle the need, and ill-disposed to do so when the afflicted were Papists. The food crisis in Ireland and the passage of the Corn Laws in England added yet another ember to the smoldering fire which became known to history as The Troubles.
One aspect of the Irish troubles which may have been considered to be a good sign was the reaction of the British politician Robert Peel. Irish farmers, disturbed at the cost of shipping what little grain they had produced that summer to market, opted to convert it to whiskey instead. To protect the whiskey from the British tax man they stored it in a castle in County Clare. When local tax authorities asked Peel to send British artillery to reduce the castle walls, the secretary demurred, suggesting that tolerance and caution were better reactions to the situation. The bootleg whiskey was left alone, and vanished according to the whims of its makers. The Irish situation remained critical for years after the summer of 1816, with crops of corn and wheat failing to make a resurgence even when more clement weather appeared later in the decade.