Monday, June 4, 2012

The Famine Memorial in Dublin

Because it is slightly off the beaten path, only few come across the Famine Memorial, a touching sculpture by the renowned Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie. The memorial is easy to find as it is just a few blocks seaward from the O’Connell Bridge along the quays on the northern side of the Liffey river.
The Canadian connection with the site is marked by a large plaque recognizing a donation on behalf of the people of Canada, which was a haven for thousands of those who emigrated because of the Famine. There is a counterpart of the sculpture in the Ireland Park at Toronto’s Eirann Quay. Five figures collectively entitled “The Arrival” honor the 38,000 Irish immigrants who fled during the Famine of 1847 and arrived in Toronto that summer. “The Arrival” is the work of the same sculptor as the Famine Memorial.
The Memorial is the story of a destitute people overcoming unimaginable hardship and suffering. The Canadian counterpart speaks to the kindness and generosity of the Canadian people. It serves as a reminder of the trauma of famine, which still exists in many parts of the world today and the consequences of the rest of the world’s failure to respond to it. 

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