Sunday, July 1, 2012

Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship and Famine Museum, Dublin

The Story of a proud Irish Emigrant Ship
Built to commemorate and honor Irish Famine emigrants and to celebrate Ireland's close ties with the U.S. and Canada, the Jeanie Johnston is docked at Custom House Quay in Dublin’s city center. It is an accurate replica of the original ship which sailed between Tralee in County Kerry and North America between 1847 and 1855. A step aboard the JeanieJohnston is a step towards understanding the daunting experience of the millions of people who crossed the Atlantic seeking survival and hope in the “New World” of North America. It is to experience the fear of the unknown ahead, the flight from poverty and famine, the pain of separation from family, and the challenge of a 3,000 mile voyage braving gales and harsh seas.
The original Jeanie Johnston was built in 1847 on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec City, Canada. Its architect was the Scottish-born shipbuilder and master craftsman John Munn. The Jeanie Johnston made her maiden voyage on 24th April 1848 from Blennerville, Co. Kerry to Quebec with 193 passengers on board. Over the next seven years the ship made 16 voyages to North America carrying over 2,500 emigrants safely to the New World. Many such ships, also called famine ships, were disease-ridden: the deaths at sea of large numbers of passengers caused them to also be referred to as coffin ships. Despite the seven week journey in very cramped and difficult conditions, no life was ever lost on board the Jeanie Johnston - a remarkable achievement which is generally attributed to the ship's captain, Castletownshend-born James Attridge and the experienced Ship's Doctor, Dr. Richard Blennerhassett.

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