Irish Potato Famine: Never forget

The Skeleton of a 5 year old child from Kilkenny Union workhouse
The Skeleton of a 5 year old child from Kilkenny Union workhouse

The Irish Potato Famine is a big part of Irish history. The Famine took more than 1 million lives of the Irish the population and forced more than 2 million to leave the country. Despite the evidence of event’s importance, there is no permanent exhibition on the subject in all of  Ireland. But from the 29th of May to the 30th of September you have the possibility to learn more about this disaster in Irish history. The exhibition Irish Potato Famine takes place in St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, on the Top floor. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the great view outside!

“I spent all of last summer in the library researching, got contact with private collectors with an aim to create a story which is highly visual and easy to understand,” says the producer of the exhibition Gerard McCarthy, a self-taught historian as he prefers to call himself.


The exposition consists of 50 slides, usually a picture with a caption, and a 15-minute film in the end. Maps, photographs and portraits of landlords, politicians and poor people with descriptions under will help you to understand the social, political and economic conditions in Ireland before and during the Famine. To cut a long story short, Ireland was invaded by Great Britain and the government didn’t really care about the Irish population, as well as the landlords just wanted to have their money.

Open-air mass at Bunlin Co. Donegal
Open-air mass at Bunlin Co. Donegal

You will be surprised by how limited lives of low classed people were. Everything was concentrated around growing food, especially potatoes, for survival. And when a disease called Potato Blight caused by a Fungus came to Ireland, the only cheap and nutritious meal disappeared. The next 10 years were filled with Workhouses, Soup kitchens, evictions and immigration.
“We liked the chronology! The story starts in the very beginning, and gives the whole perspective, says visitors Doug and Patricia Allen from Nova Scotia Canada, the exhibition shows how easy it is to take an advantage of others, and the scary part is that it can happen again today. The question would be are we gonna allow the history to repeat it”.

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Tatiana Kireeva

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