Famine Memorial

Famine Memorial information

Dublin , Ireland
Address
Street Custom House Quay
Getting there
bus all city centre
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Lonely Planet review

Just east of Custom House is one of Dublin's most thought-provoking examples of public art: the set of life-sized bronze figures (1997) by Rowan Gillespie known simply as 'Famine'. Designed to commemorate the ravages of the Great Hunger (1845–51): their haunted, harrowed look testifies to a journey that was both hazardous and unwelcome.

The location of the sculptures is also telling, for it was from this very point in 1846 that one of the first 'coffin ships' (as they quickly came to be called) set sail for the United States. Steerage fare on the Perseverence was £3 and 210 passengers made that first journey, landing in New York on 18 May 1846, with all passengers and crew intact.

In June 2007, a second series of Famine sculptures by Rowan Gillespie was unveiled on the quayside in Toronto's Ireland Park by Irish president Mary McAleese to commemorate the arrival of Famine refugees in the New World.