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Monday, 12 September 2016

President Higgins unveils Famine Cross at Glasnevin

The Famine Cross at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin,
is a new national memorial to those who
perished in Ireland during An Gorta Mór
At a ceremony at Glasnevin Cemetery yesterday, President Michael D. Higgins, accompanied by Arts Minister Heather Humphreys, unveiled a striking Famine Cross as a memorial to those who perished during the years of An Gorta Mór.

The failure of the potato crop left an indelible mark on Ireland, with one million people dying of starvation or disease, and a further million forced to escape by emigration. In an emotional speech, President Higgins compared the World's current refugee crisis, which has seen millions of people displaced or drowned as they flee war and famine, to that of the Irish Famine, and said that we must learn from the mistakes of the past and not repeat them.

The National Famine Commemoration is a State ceremony; it included military honours and a wreath laying ceremony by Ambassadors to Ireland in remembrance of all those who suffered or died during the Famine, as well as music from local choirs and St James’s Brass and Reed Band, Ireland’s oldest band.

Donated by Glasnevin Trust, the Famine Cross was hand-crafted from Irish Blue Limestone by an unknown but skillful sculptor in the mid-19th-century. It has been elevated and fixed into a stone base of the same material by McKeon Stone of Stradbally with the inscription made by letter-cutter Aileen Ann Brannigan.