I wonder how many of us have gone without food for a long period of time, felt the terrible hunger pains and wondered when or where your next meal would come from
This happened in Ireland during the "Great Famine," a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1852. It's often referred to as the Irish Potato Famine, because of the number of people who relied on potatoes for food, only during the Great Famine, a disease known as potato blight decimated the potato crops.
During the famine, around one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland.
Now this dark period in Ireland's history is remembered around Ireland. In Dublin beside the River Liffey, is the Famine sculpture, a poignant set of bronze sculptures dedicated to those Irish people forced to emigrate during the 19th century Irish Famine. It's built on the departure site of the Perseverance, one of the first famine ships that sailed from Custom House Quay on St. Patrick's Day 1846, with a load of Irish people on their way to New York to begin a new life. All passengers and crew survived the journey. Many thousand ships did journeys like this.
The Famine Memorial sculpture was created by Rowan Gillespie and unveiled in 1997. I thought it extremely well done. When I looked at the emaciated men and women trudging along the banks of the river, their faces full of sadness, grief and despair, I thought just how lucky I was.
By Custom House Quay there is a rather interesting stone on the ground that commemorates the United Nations . The limestone memorial signifies the solidarity with poor people living around the world. Joseph Wresinski organised 100,000 people to gather in Paris to honour the victims of hunger and poverty and call on the world to respect human rights. this took place on October 17th 1987 and since then the UN has declared 17th October the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Now there are 30 replicas of the original stone that are scattered around the world.
Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie designed this sad reminder of the Irish people that were forced to emigrate to America due to the 19th century famine. The memorial was unveiled in 1997 at Customs House Quay which was fitting as one of the first ships, Perserverance departed from there on St. Patrick's day 1846. the 74 year old Captain William Scott, a native of Shetland but now working in New Brunswick gave up his job to make the Atlantic crossing and help these unfortunate people. He was a veteran of the Atlantic and reached New York on 28th May 1846 without losing a crew member or any of the passengers who had paid 3 pounds each to make the journey.
During the famine approximately 1 million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland, causing the island's population to fall by between 20% and 25%.
No event in history has had a more profound effect on Ireland and the worldwide Irish Community than that of the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849).
The cause of Famine is blamed on a potato disease commonly known as potato blight. The blight ravaged potato crops throughout Europe during the 1840s. The impact and human cost in Ireland was one third of the population who was entirely dependent on the potato for food. It was exacerbated by a host of political, social and economic factors which remain the subject of historical debate.
We came across this as we were walking around the city centre. If you travel from the ferry terminal you pass this on your way into the city.
There were a great many plaques set into the ground showing the names of Irish men and woman and those from around the world with Irish links.
Life-size bronzes, beautifully sculpted by the brilliant Rowan Gillespie (b. 1953). The sculpture group is on the quayside, in front of the Custom House.
Gillespie is Dublin born and has his studio here. I think it's interesting that he was greatly influenced by the work of Norwegian painter Edvard Munch.
This is a recent addition to the sculptures of Dublin. I think anyone who stops to think will find it a very evocative and moving piece of artwork.
It's a memorial to both those who left these shores and those who did'nt. It was from here that thousands of emogrants boarded steamers to Liverpool before tranferring to cross-Atlantic ships. They may have gone on to prosperity and a new life, but pity those who were left behind in poverty.
FROM the Irish Faminie fund website. :
Building a future - by remembering the past
In the mid-184O's, Ireland was in the grip of the Great Famine that would devastate the land and the people for many years. During this time, one and a half million men, women and children died, and a further one and a half million emigrated.
It is now one hundred and fifty years since the Famine. Those that were forced to leave our shores built new lives for themselves, and helped to shape a brave future for their adopted homelands. As a result, over seventy million people around the world now proudly claim their Irish heritage.
One of the most moving Irish Famine Monuments is located on Custom House Quay. It is special for me, it depicts sculptures of starving people - very thin, walking towards the ships on the docks.
It was built in memory of those who left for another country (mostly the USA) in hope of a better life. Ireland was struck with a great famine between 1845-49 when it was hit with potato blight, that destroyed most potatoes in the country. One milion people died of starvation or disease caused from lack of food.
I think it is worth going there and pay a tribute, once in Dublin. A beautiful landmark, really.
On Custom House Quay is one of the Famine Monuments in Dublin. The people depicted in the sculptures are very thin of starvation and it is like they are walking towards the ships along the quay that could take them to another country and hopefully a better life.
Between 1845 - 49 Ireland was hit by the potato blight, which destroyed almost all potatoes growing. And as potatoes were the primary food source it was a disaster and about one million people died of starvation or diseases. Even more people emigrated to Great Britain, Australia or America.
Alongside the River Liffey, just passed Customs House, is the Famine memorial dedicated to all those who lost their lives in the infamous Irish potato famine. At night it is lit up and the rake thin statues look quite eerie but definitely bring it home to you how people must have suffered during that time.
During the time of the Great Irish Famine, 1845 to 1849 more than one million men women and children died and nearly two million were forced to emigrate. The famine resulted in the potato crop failure the main source of food for Irish people. A memorial of six life sized bronze figures is situated near the customs house quay as a reminder of the hardship endured at that time. This area has had a complete makeover. Once a dangeous place to venture, now its full of restaurants, bars and a place where all the banking institutes have their offices. Do look out for magazine listings for the Summer months. The plaza turns into a makeshift theatre hosting plays and all sorts of music.
These statues of Ireland's greatest economic disaster are in front of custom house quay (a symbol of Ireland’s economic success), I'm not sure what this says.
The statues themselves are very good however the plaques on the floor are a little off putting. They list the names of people who donated money to help build the memorial, which is all well and good. However the names of famous people are in bold and highlighted. Personally I think a memorial should be just that, not a means to promote your celebrity status.