By 1995, the 150th anniversary of the first appearance of blight, Irish people throughout the world were ready to remember Ireland’s Great Hunger. The Irish government responded with the appointment of a Famine Committee to oversee a program of official commemorations now held annually.
These commemorations are both numerous and diverse, and include publications, plays, paintings, poems, remembrance services and, perhaps most unexpectedly, an apology in 1997 from the British prime minister for the failure of the British government to save the lives of the Irish people.
Ireland’s Great Hunger is now memorialized in many locations throughout Ireland, especially in those regions that suffered the greatest losses, and also in cities around the world with large populations descended from Irish Famine immigrants.
Notable among the memorials worldwide are:
• Custom’s House Quay, Dublin: sculpture by Rowan Gillespie*
• National Famine Memorial, Croagh Patrick, County Mayo: sculpture by John Behan*
• Strokestown Park Famine Museum, County Roscommon
• Dunfanaghy Workhouse and Heritage Centre, County Donegal
• Battery Park City, New York, sculpture by Brian Tolle
• Boston, Massachusetts, sculpture by Robert Shure *
• Cambridge, Massachusetts, sculpture by Maurice Harron
• Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, sculpture by Glenna Goodacre*
• Westchester County, New York, sculpture by Eamonn O’Doherty*
• Providence, Rhode Island, sculpture by Robert Shure *
• Chicago, Illinois, sculpture designed by Fr. Anthony Brankin
• Grosse Île is Canada’s Irish Memorial National Historic Site. Originally it was the quarantine station for the Port of Québec.
• Liverpool, St. Luke’s Church, sculpture by Eamonn O’Doherty
• The Australian Monument, by Iranian artist Hossein Vlaamanesh and his wife, Angela, is located in Sydney.
* A model of this sculpture is included in Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum collection.