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Posted by on Jun 28, 2010 in Historic, History | 12 comments

Irish Hunger Memorial


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irish Famine and Hunger Memorial New York City

Irish Hunger Memorial in New York City

Among the skyscrapers of Manhattan, a plot of Irish land rises from the concrete. On it, the ruin of a cottage, stone walls, soil and plants relocated from the Ireland, it’s easy to forget I’m in the City that Never Sleeps.

A completely unexpected scene, New York’s Irish Hunger Memorial delivers a peaceful, Irish hillside that also commemorates the terrible conditions that forced many Irish to leave their lands and disperse across the globe.

For anyone with Irish ancestry, it gives them a bit of their heritage. Not only does it look like someone picked up a patchwork square from the Irish landscape and dropped it on the edge of the city, it includes a stone from every county in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The county name engraved on each rock, turns the visit into an ancestral county rock hunt that also draws attention to the plants rooted in the transported Irish soil… heather, blackthorn, heath and gorse… all from Ireland.

The memorial works to raise awareness of hunger and famine worldwide and is located in Battery Park City at the west end of Vesey Street. CLICK FOR PHOTOS>>

Click the photos below to view a slideshow of all the county stones featured in the Irish Hunger Memorial (my apologies to Armagh, I missed photographing your stone – if anyone visits there, send me a pic… it’s at the top of the hill):

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12 Comments

  1. My Irish ancesters (my paternal grandmothers side)Sarah Heaton & Patrick Maloy came to Castle Gardens NY to enter the U.S. They stayed in NYC and had 4 children. Then he moved I believe to Hamilton Co., OH, where I believed he died and Sarah moved the entire family back to Ulster Co., NY, where I believe Patrick had two brothers.

    I didn’t know this Irish memorial existed in Battery Park. If I knew that, I would have visited it the couple of times I was in NYC. Thanks for the photo Guys.

  2. Thanks for sharing and reminding me of this special site. We’ll be in NYC in Sept, so will force our ‘guide’ (sisinlaw) to take us there…

  3. Corey, this so intrigued me that I Dogpiled the Memorial and surfed around a number of sites. Your pictures are by far the best; better than the official websites’ and the amateurs who posted.

    Thank you for sharing this with those of us who may never see it in person.

  4. As someone involved in trying to support the growing number of homeless and hungry in Ireland now, men, women and children living on the streets in the way their ancestors did, I find this memorial bizarre and pointless. Money and time and energy so much needed in the “real Ireland”we live in today, not some past never forgotten, that surely if the suffering and deaths lamented are not to have been in vain, “should” have taught this generation that food and shelter matter more than memorials etc. If it has not, then they have suffered and died in vain. Humanity mustearn to think of the living not the dead. Such a waste of resources and of course it is not Ireland; Ireland is not stones and field and names of counties, but real people. Struggling to survive in many ways. If you really love ireland, help the people, please. Blessings and peace this day from a land of suffering beauty. same as decades and generations ago,,, time to see below the surface,

    • Such rubbish the people begging on the streets in ireland and mostly east Europeans sure we have a recession with record levels of unemployment but our spirits are unique and we will deal with this with our heads high,who ever you are you are trying to paint a picture that does not exist, and for the record I think this monument is beautiful

  5. Sister,

    Before you criticize a site you have never visited, you should note the Hunger Memorial is connected with an organization that has raised millions for hunger relief around the world. The memorial has done more in raising awareness and funds than you may realize.

  6. Corey,

    After having this on my NYC list for a while, your visit and photo finally got me motivated. My wife and I went last Friday while we were in the city.. This two room cottage is very much like my grandfather’s cottage in Leitrim (now just a partial structure).

    p.s. Your photo is fantastic.

  7. Corey, After having this on my NYC list for a while, your visit and photo finally got me motivated. My wife and I went last Friday while we were in the city.. This two room cottage is very much like my grandfather’s cottage in Leitrim (now just a partial structure). p.s. Your photo is fantastic.

  8. Corey,

    This is a wonderful photo. I never knew of the memorial’s existence. Thanks for sharing it. During the Famine there was huge emigration from Corca Dhuibhne (West Kerry)and many homes made of wattle and daub crumbled back into the landscape without trace. But you can still see ruined stone cottages, like the one in your photo, which date from that period. And from later, when the steady stream of emigration to the US, the UK, Canada and Australia continued, and whole families left the country. The links forged with the rest of the world are positive but the sight of those abandoned homes is still heartbreaking.

    The house I live in now is a stone cottage very like the one in your photo. It was built at the turn of the twentieth century for an elderly lady and her daughter, who were rehoused from a thatched, mud cabin down the road. The old lady was born in the famine years, and, though many people in the surrounding area starved to death, or died of famine fever, she lived to grow up, marry and raise children here. Her daughter, Neillí Mhuiris, kept open house for the neighbours in the winter evenings (it was a ‘rambling house’, or place for ‘bothántaiocht’)and the same songs and stories are still sung and told here still.

    • It’s good to know the house continues filled with song :)

      Thanks for sharing.

  9. Sister,
    The Irish government didn’t pay for this. This is a mighty tribute to the million people wiped out by the forces of the crown. Died coz of a spud blight? Wrong! Died coz they were starved to death while other crops & livestock was loaded at Irish ports guarded by 100,000 british troops for the English tables. Tis the Irish governments waste taxpayers money to pay back the bankers gambling debts is the true waste of money on the homeless & hungry of Ireland today. & they should also have more memorials to the dead of the genocide of Ireland.

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