The sculpture entitled “Famine” was presented to the City of Dublin in 1997. The sculpture is a commemorative work dedicated to those Irish people forced to emigrate during the 19th century Irish Famines. The bronze sculptures were designed and crafted by Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie and are located on Custom House Quay (dock) in Dublin. This location is a particularly appropriate as it was the site of many emmigrant departures, including one of the first voyages of the Famine period on the ‘Perserverance’ which sailed from Custom House Quay on St. Patrick’s Day 1846.
In Ireland, the Great Famine was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration between 1845 and 1852, also known as the Irish Potato Famine. During the famine approximately 1 million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland, causing the island’s population to fall by 25%. The famine was a watershed in the history of Ireland that permanently changed the island’s demographic, political and cultural landscape.
From 1830 to 1914, almost 5 million went to the United States. By the 21st century, an estimated 80 million people worldwide claim some Irish descent; among them are 41 million Americans who claim “Irish” as their primary ethnicity. As the descendant of Irish emmigrants to America (admittedly after the Famine period as far as I can tell), this site still had special meaning to me and helped me to connect to this amazing country. Visit my Dublin photo gallery to view more photos of the Famine sculptures. They are haunting and beautiful at the same time.