Monday 13 April 2015

Northern Ireland to host Famine Commemoration

This year's Great Famine Commemoration will take place on Saturday 26 September in Newry, Co Down. It is the eighth year in which the Great Famine is being marked with a formal tribute and the first time that it is being held in Northern Ireland.

In recognition of the fact that the Famine affected all parts of the island, the location of the annual commemoration has rotated in sequence between the four provinces since the inaugural ceremony in Dublin in 2008. When it last fell to Ulster in 2011, it was held in Clones, Co Monaghan.

The announcement was made by Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and was welcomed by Northern Ireland's Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín, who said: “This landmark initiative in Newry will help communities across this island to better understand the impact and legacy of the famine on all sections and traditions in our society. The famine was a time of unspeakable horror and hardship throughout Ireland. It was not held at bay by creed or boundaries drawn on any map.

"It is important that we take time to remember the plight of our ancestors who died from starvation and disease or who were forced into exile, never to return to their native shores. Nor can we forget those who died on the famine ships as they tried to escape their plight in Ireland or the grief and pain of those who were left behind. It truly was a terrible time.

“No part of the island was spared the terrible atrocity of ‘an gorta mor’ (the great hunger) and it is fitting that the annual famine commemoration should be held in the north for the first time."