If only those old bones could tell their story

Irish Central‘s Cathy Hayes has posted two stories about how cholera epidemics in the 1830s claimed the lives of Irish citizens on both sides of the Atlantic.

In an odd coincidence, the resulting mass graves are each next to railways.

One story is about Duffy’s Cut, a stretch of railroad 30 miles west of Philadelphia. There’s an ongoing dispute as to whether the nearly 60 workers interred in the small plot next to the tracks died of cholera, were murdered for fear of carrying the infection, or a combination of both.

Dan Barry of The New York Times wrote an excellent piece about Duffy’s Cut in March 2013. An hour-long PBS documentary is posted below.

The other story details the recent discovery of a mass grave in Dublin city center, near a Luas tram line expansion project. The burial plot is believed to be overflow from a nearby hospital cemetery that was unable to handle the death toll as the disease ripped through Dublin’s squalid tenements more than 180 years ago.

Experts are still examining how much the planned construction will disturb the burial site, and it remains unknown how many people were interred in the mass grave.