Located on Custom House Quay in Dublin, the Famine Memorial displays a moving tribute to the Irish population affected by the Great Famine. The famine occurred between 1845 – 1849 and was caused by a potato blight meaning the crop failed for 4 years.
It is estimated that 1 million people died and 1 million people emigrated from Ireland resulting in a 20-25% decrease in the overall population of the Island.
The memorial depicts gaunt, lifeless peasants wandering in a group towards Dublin Port where many boarded ships to North America in hope of starting a new life and escaping the suffering in their hometowns.
Emotions and expressions are embedded deep within the illustrated characters; looks of pain and weariness can be seen on each of their faces as they make the journey on foot toward the ships. Humans are not the only ones depicted here as we see a starving dog also present behind the group.
Custom House Quay is a historic location for this memorial. On St. Patricks day 1846, the first voyage of famine emigration took place on board the ship Perseverance from this quay. Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie designed and produced the sculptures and the piece was presented to Ireland on May 29th 1997.
The Famine Memorial is a powerful reminder of the arguably the greatest disaster to occur in Ireland, especially in terms of population mass movement and economic circumstances.
If you find yourself walking along the River Liffey and in the same area as this memorial then you should definitely pay a visit to experience it for yourself.
How to get there:
DART: Take the DART to Tara Street station and turn right after exiting the station. Walk along the Quay for 5 minutes and the memorial is on the opposite side of the river between the Talbot Memorial Bridge and the Sean O’ Casey bridge.
Bus: Take the bus to O’ Connell Street and walk along the quay towards the Customs House, following the same instructions as above you should easily find the memorial along the quay.
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