Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Chairperson of the National Famine Commemoration Committee, launched this year’s National Famine Commemoration programme of events (May 2-11) in the Percy French Hotel in Strokestown.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Deenihan noted “The local community of Strokestown has many links to the famine, especially Strokestown Park House which was formally the Mahon estate. Many sought refuge here but were evicted due to the estates financial difficulties which in turn ended in tragic consequences for the Mahon family.
“This year the community events and the official commemoration will remember all those locally and nationally who perished, emigrated and suffered loss during this desolate time.”
A 10-day programme of events will begin in Strokestown on May 2 and will continue until May 11 culminating in the formal state commemoration ceremony. Events include a series of lectures, musical pieces, walks, bus tours, theatre, music, exhibitions and local commemoration ceremonies, all of which are free of charge.
The Irish Famine Museum will remain open throughout the week with a rare display of famine documents. A Strokestown poetry festival featuring famine poetry and a lecture on the Irish lumper potato will feature alongside bus tours of famine sites in the county and a famine art exhibition from a local primary school.
On Friday May 9th wreath laying ceremonies will take place throughout the county at famine sites and a traditional Irish wake will be held. A special exhibition entitled ‘The Famine Irish: Faces from county’ will be opened by Dr Ciaran Reilly, NUI Maynooth.