The Irish Famine Exhibition is returning to the Stephens Green Shopping Centre in Dublin. It was initially curated in 2017 by historian Gerard McCarthy, a native of West Cork.
McCarthy says the Famine is a neglected subject in Ireland. “There are no dedicated exhibitions on the subject in our National State Funded Museums and there is rarely a mention of it in Ireland’s National Media,” he wrote in an email.
McCarthy hopes that his exhibition will contribute to keeping the story alive in the minds of Irish people and also educate tourists who have little or no knowledge of the subject. This year marks the 175th anniversary of the start of the Famine in 1845.
The exhibition is open from April 6 to September 25. It includes original artifacts from the period, such as the cast-iron pot below used to make soup, “perhaps the ultimate famine memorial,” according to the exhibit.
I’ve contributed two of my previously published Famine-related stories to the blog section of the exhibition website: www.theirishpotatofamine.com. One story, published in the U.S. National Archives’ Prologue magazine, is about famine-era children born at sea on their way to America; the other, for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is about period correspondence with a Pennsylvania priest.
Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum to remain open
A flurry of news coverage this time last year, some that I linked to from this blog, reported the potential 2020 closure of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum in Hamden, Connecticut. A new administration at Quinnipiac University supposedly was going to withdraw funding for the museum, the labor of love of president emeritus Dr. John Lahey.
There is no information about this posted on the museum website. In a recent call to the museum, I was told there are no plans or deadlines to close the museum, which continues to receive funding from the university. The museum is striving to become more self-sufficient. The 2019 media coverage was “blown out of proportion,” the museum representative said.
The media does hype matters, and gets things flat wrong, but I’m also skeptical of those who want to dismiss or blame press. Keep an eye on this.
The museum, and the related Lender Family Special Collection Room at the Arnold Bernhard Library on the university campus, are both great resources and worth the visit to central Connecticut, about a two-hour drive from Boston or New York City.