He ran a spade factory, with over 80 different types of spades. The spade was cheap and more popular than the horse or plough. Labourers were many and cheap. People were poor and died of disease and malnutrition. There was mass emigration.
During the famine years 1845-1848, over 800,000 people died. Two million emigrated. The population continued to fall until 1935.
After the famine, they realised that they no longer could rely, on the potato for economic survival. Bad weather during 1870 destroyed the potato crop. By that time there was competition because cheaper potatoes were imported.
The landlords and decision makers built more railways. By 1870 there was over 20,000 miles of rail.