The choice of Kilrush as host town for the 2013 National Famine Commemoration is particularly significant given the strength of its historic links with the Great Irish Famine. Kilrush and its environs were among the areas worst hit by famine during that tragic time. Evictions, fever and cholera reduced the population of south-west Clare to such an extent that it has never since attained its pre-famine numbers. It is estimated that Kilrush Union lost 50% of its population between 1846 and 1851. Over 20,000 were evicted in the Kilrush area and the Kilrush workhouse greatly exceeded its capacity of 800 and overflowed with skeletal, desolate and damaged people. It witnessed deprivation and death on a cataclysmic scale.
Making the announcement, Minister Deenihan said: 'The National Famine Commemoration Committee looks forward to working closely with the community in Kilrush to ensure that the 2013 National Famine Commemoration will be a fitting tribute all those who perished, suffered and emigrated.'
Minister Deenihan expressed his gratitude to the members of the National Famine Commemoration Committee (NFCC) for their commitment in ensuring that the catastrophic events of the Great Famine are appropriately remembered and that the extraordinary contributions of those who emigrated, and of their many descendents abroad, are justly celebrated.
This year's International Famine Commemoration will be held in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday 25 August.
See below the film submitted to the NFCC in support of Kilrush's application.