Irish Canadian Famine Research

Irish Canadian Famine Research

Month: April, 2015

Ireland Park Foundation and INUA Partnership Launched by Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers

From Irish Times (April 24, 2015):

Robert Kearns and INUA partnership

Kevin Michael Vickers, Canadian ambassador of Canada to Ireland; Noel Creedon, chief executive of iNua Partnership; and Robert Kearns, chairman of Ireland Park Foundation. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

Irish emigré Robert G Kearns has prospered in his adopted home of Toronto, building an insurance business over the 35 years since departing Ireland. Kearns was back in Ireland last week to promote the Ireland Park Foundation, a charitable nonprofit organisation he set up to celebrate the story of the Irish in Canada.

The foundation raised 3.7 million Canadian dollars (about €2.8 million) to build Ireland Park on Toronto’s waterfront – the successful realisation of Kearns’s ambition to create inspiring spaces in Canada that both celebrate and commemorate Ireland’s presence in Canada, where about 4.4 million Canadians – 13 per cent of the population – trace their ancestry to Ireland

Kearns was home for an event at the Canadian embassyto announce that investment group iNua Partnership has signed up as a corporate partner and fundraising affiliate the foundation. While he may be a long time out of Ireland, his family is well known here. Robert is brother to president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns.

The Ireland Park Foundation iNua Partnership supports commemorative activities and academic research on the Famine Irish in Canada:

Academic Research

So much of the extraordinary journey that carried our Irish ancestors to Canada can be told through storytelling. As a Partner to the Foundation, iNua Partnership is committed to keeping those stories alive and ensuring that we pass memories through stories to the next generation. To this end, iNua Partnership has commissioned NUI Galway’s Dr. Jason King to conduct new research to help uncover the remarkable and deeply personal stories of some of the thousands of Irish men, women and children who left from Cork and Limerick for Canada during the Famine years.


Documentary Film about the Famine Irish in Quebec: “Remembering a Memory”



Remembering a Memory, produced by Ronald Rudin (Concordia University) and directed by Robert McMahon (Royal Ontario Museum) explores the various stories inspired by the immense Celtic Cross constructed in 1909 on Grosse-Île , a tiny island near Quebec City, which is the site of the largest cemetery outside Ireland connected with the Potato Famine of the 1840s. This film reflects on how and why the memories evoked by Grosse-Île have so dramatically shifted over the past century.


Ronald Rudin, Concordia University.


Robert McMahon, Royal Ontario Museum.

The film “Remembering a Memory” can be viewed at the following link:

The film builds on and complements the research of Dr. Colin McMahon, especially his MA thesis entitled “Quarantining the Past: Commemorating the Great Irish Famine on Grosse Ile” (2001):

Famine walk from Roscommon reaches Dublin

From Irish Times (April 22, 2015)

Walk, in period costume, commemorated 1847 walk when 1,490 starving tenants from Strokestown walked to Dublin and boarded a ship for Canada

Famine walkers reach Dublin

Famine walkers on the final few steps of their 155km Famine re-enactment walk from Roscommon to the Jeanie Johnston in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Patsy McGarry

As they began the 155 km Famine commemorative walk from Strokestown, Co Roscommon to Dublin last weekend, participants’ thoughts turned to migrants drowning in the Mediterranean. “While exploring our past we are always conscious that the experience is someone else’s present,” Caroilin Callery, one of the walkers, said when they finished the walk in Dublin.

The walk, in period costume, commemorated one in 1847 when 1,490 starving tenants from the Mahon estate in Strokestown walked to Dublin and boarded the ship Naomi for Canada.

“Seven hundred of them died at sea,” Ms Callery said. On Monday she got a text to say 700 migrants had drowned off the coast of Libya. It was “gut-wrenching”, she said.

Ms Callery, along with Patricia Rogers, Mick Blanch, Gerard Glennon, Bernie Kelly and broadcaster Cathal Póirtéir, finished up at the Jeanie Johnston tall ship on Custom House Quay in Dublin.

Summer school

They were met by Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys, who launched the programme for the inaugural Irish Famine Summer School in Strokestown in June. Described by co-ordinator Dr Ciarán Reilly of NUI Maynooth as “the biggest conference on the Irish Famine ever held to date”, it takes place from June 17th to 21st.

The Minister told the walkers: “You’ve brought life to history and history to life.”

She said the National Famine Commemoration Day on September 26th would be marked in Northern Ireland for the first time at Newry, Co Down.

“The Famine was an event felt by all religions and all cultures on this island. It was one of the most important events in our shared history, a bit like World War one,” she said.

Tim O’Connor, chairman of The Gathering in 2013, described the Irish diaspora as “a great global parish joined by geography and time”, much of it rooted in migration as a result of the Famine.

Schoolgirl Maeve Tighe read her poem The Journey.

Roscommon county council acting chief executive Tommy Ryan described Strokestown House as “a great asset” in an “unknown” county. The house was bought 35 years ago by Jim Callery who has overseen its preservation and the setting up of a Famine Museum there.

He attended the launch of the summer school programme with his wife Adeline. Their daughter Caroilin spoke of his huge personal and financial commitment to Strokestown House. “We’re extremely proud of him.”

After the Famine Walk, Caroilin Callery travelled straight to the inaugural meeting of the International Network of Irish Famine Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands:

Caroilin at IINS o

IINS group photo

INIFS Group Photo

Jason at IINS 2

Programme Expert Meeting International Network of Famine Studies

‘Famine Migration and Diaspora’

Radboud University Nijmegen

23-24 April 2015

23 april

9:30   Opening, Gymnasion (GN) 3

9.45-10:45:   William Smyth (University College Cork), “Famine, emigration and the

transformation of southern Irish society 1845-1916”. GN 3

10.45-11.15:  Coffee/tea

11.15-12:15:   Mark McGowan (University of Toronto), “Finding the People of the

Famine Diaspora: A Preliminary Report on the Strokestown  ‘1490’ in 1847”. GN 3

12.15-13:15:  Lunch, Foyer GN

13.15-14:15:  Jason King (NUI Galway), “Performing Famine Memory: Irish Theatre and

the Great Hunger during the Rise and Fall of the Celtic Tiger”. GN 3.

14.15-15:45:  Panel session 1, GN2.

Aaron Roberts (University of California Riverside), “Fleeing and Starving: Settler Colonial Biopolitics in Ireland and Palestine”;

and response by David Nally (University of Cambridge).

Pawel Hamera (University of Cracow), “ ‘A Good Riddance’: the 1851 Irish

Census, the Mass Emigration and the British Press”.

15.45-16.15:   Tea/coffee

16.15-17.00: Plenary discussion, GN 3. Contributions by Peter Gray (Queen’s University Belfast) and Emily Mark FitzGerald (University College Dublin).

18:30 – :  Dinner at Vlaams Arsenaal

24 april

9.45-10:45:  Laura Izarra (University of Sao Paolo), “Memories of Leaving and the

Language of Return”. GN3.

10.45-11.15:   Coffee/tea

11.15-12:15:    Piaras MacÉinri (University College Cork), GN 3

12.15-13:15:  Lunch, Foyer GN

13.15-14:15: Marguérite Corporaal (Radboud University Nijmegen), “From Restoration to Reinscription: Remembering the Famine in Irish North-American Fiction”. GN3.

14.15-15:45:   Panel session 2: GN2.

Frank Rynne (Université Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas), “The Returned American: Irish Americans, the American Diaspora and The Land War 1879-82”.

Caroilin Callery (Strokestown Park), “Memories of Leaving and the Language of Return”.

15.45-16.15:   Tea/coffee

16:15-17:00: Plenary discussion, GN 3. Contributions by Jason King (NUI Galway) and Andrew Newby (University of Helsinki).

17.00-18:00:  Goodbye and drinks, Foyer GN

Walk to recall Famine victims offered flight or starvation

From Irish Times

Walk from Roscommon to Dublin honours the ‘missing 1,490’ Strokestown tenants

1490 walk

Frank Hanly and Caroilin Callery at Strokestown Park prepare for Walking in the Footsteps of the Missing 1,490 – A Famine Emigrant’s Walk. Photograph: Brian Farr

Marese McDonagh

Sat, Apr 18, 2015

When Caroilin Callery was a teenager, her father Jim bought the 300-acre Strokestown estate in Co Roscommon from Olive Hales Pakenham.

“It was as if the family had just walked out the door. All their belongings were around; even the family portraits were hanging on the walls. I used to love wandering through the house,” Callery says.

The house was full of history: Pakenham’s ancestor Major Denis Mahon was a landlord who was murdered during the Famine in 1847.

But Jim Callery was less interested in Strokestown House or its history than he was in the lands around it. Indeed, he had only been in the drawingroom of the house at the time he did the deal in 1979. But he needed a few acres to expand his business, and the entire estate was what was on offer. So he took it.

He was somewhat taken aback a few years later when he discovered more than 55,000 musty documents, many relating to the Famine, in the house. For better or worse the family had been entrusted with safeguarding part of the legacy of the Famine, and the National Famine Museum is just one manifestation of that responsibility.

On Saturday, when she and a group of neighbours walk 155km from Strokestown to the Dublin docks, Caroilin Callery will be retracing the steps of the “missing 1,490”, the starving tenants who set out on foot from the estate in May 1847. Major Mahon had offered them the choice of emigration through “assisted passage”, starvation on their blighted potato patch farms or a place in the terrifying local workhouse.

Coffin ships

After walking for days along the tow paths of the Royal Canal to Dublin, the weary men, women and children were put on boats to Liverpool, and from there to Quebec aboard four notorious “coffin ships”.

Caroilin Callery says the Royal Canal was “the N4 of that time” and was the most likely route for Mahon’s tenants.

It was one of the largest “assisted emigration” schemes of the Famine era, a mass movement of people with impossible choices.

While initially dubious about the scheme, the landlord notoriously booked passage for his tenants on cargo ships, rather than passenger ones, and according to some estimates, as many as 50 per cent did not survive the journey to Canada.

“Another very sad and ironic fact is that these people initially travelled to Liverpool on boats loaded with grain from Ireland. They were lying under tarpaulin on deck, on top of this wheat,” says Callery.

She is director of the inaugural Irish Famine Summer School which takes place in Strokestown House from June 17th to 21st . It will be launched by Minister for the Arts Heather Humphreys when she greets the walkers on the Jeanie Johnston on their arrival in Dublin on Wednesday.

Callery says she will be thinking of the tenants as she follows in their footsteps today.

“I will be thinking of the children walking barefoot, the hungry mothers carrying babies, the corpses they must have seen along the canal.

“ I will be thinking about Mary Tighe who is often in my mind, who left with her brother and her five children after her husband Bernard died.”


Mary Tighe and three of her children died before their ship docked at Grosse Île. Her son Daniel (12) and daughter Catherine (9) survived, and two years ago Daniel’s great-grandson Richard Tye visited Strokestown in one of the more moving visits of the Gathering.

Callery and her neighbours will spend five days walking, overnighting in Abbeyshrule, Mullingar, Enfield and Maynooth. They are hoping that hundreds will join them along the route.

The scale of the exodus from Strokestown was discovered by Dr Ciarán Reilly from Maynooth University, author of Strokestown and the Great Irish Famine. He says estate bailiff John Robinson, who was paid two shillings to escort the tenants to Liverpool, was “given strict instructions that none were ever to return to Roscommon”.

In November 1847 Major Mahon became the first landlord to be murdered during the Famine.

“Word got back about the condition of the ships. There was a lot of anger,” says Callery

The Famine Irish migration from Newry to Canada in 1849: Documentaries about the Hannah


There was a substantial famine migration from Newry to British North America in 1849, symbolized by the ill fated voyage of the Hannah which was shipwrecked on an iceberg, though many of its passengers were miraculously rescued.  The voyage of the Hannah has been reconstructed in two closely related Northern Irish and Canadian documentaries: 1) Ice Emigrants, and 2) Famine and Shipwreck: An Irish Odyssey.

1) Title: Ice Emigrants

Independent Production: Hardy Pictures (Northern Ireland)

Narrated by John Lynch, Ice Emigrants is a co-production with Canada’s Galafilms.  Canadian title: Famine and Shipwreck, an Irish Odyssey.

Time/Date: BBC 1 NI 21st February 2011.

In 1849 a famine-ravaged Armagh community made a choice – to stay and die of starvation – or spend all they had sailing for Canada in search of a better life.

Those who sailed across the Atlantic endured scarcely imaginable hardship – none more terrifying than the iceberg which sank their ship in the Gulf of St Lawrence. A century and a half later, on an extraordinary and emotional journey, a young family from Armagh retrace their ancestors’ steps and piece together a moving and inspiring story of emigration and survival.

Production Company/Key crew:

Director: Andrea McCartney, Brian McKenna

Producer:  Andrea McCartney

The program received accolades on Irish diaspora websites such as  In fact, the documentary was first inspired by a posting on this website.

This documentary specializes in the genre of family history and is quite absorbing in merging a genealogical storyline of a County Armagh family tracing its routes with a historical reconstruction of the tragic journey of the brig Hannah which broke up on the pack ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1849, from where many were miraculously rescued.

2) Title: Famine and Shipwreck, an Irish Odyssey.

Independent Production: Galafilm Productions

Famine and Shipwreck, an Irish Odyssey is a coproduction with Northern Ireland’s Hardy Film’s documentary Ice Emigrants.  It reconstructs the famine voyage of the brig Hannah from the perspective of different descendants of its original passengers than in Ice Emigrants with more emphasis on the Canadian story.  It is an entirely separate production.

Time/Date: Broadcast on CBC March 17 2011.

Famine and Shipwreck, an Irish Odyssey was shot in Ireland, Quebec, Ontario and off the coast of Prince Edward Island, in 2010.  It never would have been possible without the incredible efforts of Paddy Murphy from Ontario, who traced his genealogy back to his Irish roots in South Armagh, Ireland.

Famine and Shipwreck, an Irish Odyssey is [an independent company] Galafilm production, produced in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Radio-Canada, with the financial participation of the Canadian Media Fund, the Quebec tax credit and the Federal tax credit, and developed with the financial participation of the SODEC.

Production Company/Key crew:

Director: Brian McKenna

Producer: Nathalie Dubois

This documentary was critically acclaimed and extensively promoted on a variety of Irish-Canadian academic and cultural listservs and web sites including that of the Ireland Canada University Foundation (  It is a fast paced documentary that makes effective use of CGI an animation for the purposes of historical reconstruction interspersed with on location scenes in rural Ireland and on ice flows in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

It can be viewed (only in Canada) at the following link:

Famine and Shipwreck: An Irish Odyssey

Newry selected to host Famine commemoration in Northern Ireland for first time

From BBC

Newry to host Irish National Famine Commemoration in September 2015

10 April 2015
National Famine Monument
The National Famine monument, a sculpture of a coffin ship, is at the foot of Croagh Patrick in County Mayo

An annual commemoration of the Irish famine when 1 million people died is to be held in Northern Ireland for the first time.

The Irish arts minister has confirmed that the 2015 famine commemoration will take place on Saturday 26 September in Newry, County Down.

In “the great hunger” of 1845, 1.5 million people emigrated to Canada, America and England.

Many died of typhus on the so-called “coffin ships”.

Irish minister Heather Humphreys said the famine affected all of the island of Ireland.

As a result, the commemoration rotates between its four provinces.

The first commemoration took place in Dublin in 2008 – in total, there have been eight commemorations – and this year, it falls to Ulster.

A monument in Dublin to those who suffered in the 1845 Irish famine that became known as the Great Hunger

“The annual famine commemoration is a solemn tribute to those who suffered in the most appalling circumstances that prevailed during the Great Famine,” Ms Humphreys said.

“While the scale of suffering was greater in some parts of Ireland than in others, all parts of the island suffered great loss of life and the destruction of families and communities through emigration.

“In this commemoration, we remember all those who suffered, those who died, those who survived but who lost family members, those who were forced to emigrate and those who remained in Ireland but suffered other forms of loss because of the Great Famine.”

In 2011, the commemoration was held in Clones, County Monaghan, in the province of Ulster and Ms Humphreys was present.

1846: A starving boy and girl rake the ground for potatoes at Cahera during the Irish potato famine
1846: A starving boy and girl rake the ground for potatoes at Cahera during the Irish potato famine

“It was very moving to witness the involvement of the entire community in the event and in particular, the participation of children. I look forward to engaging with the local community in Newry, as they bring their unique perspective to remembering one of the most important events in our shared history, and as an Ulster woman, I look forward to participating in the event in Newry in September,” she said.

The minister and the famine commemoration committee welcomed Newry’s strong application, the enthusiasm shown by the local community for the project and their determination to mark the occasion in a fitting, respectful and inclusive manner.

The newly-established Newry, Mourne and Down District Council will take a leading role in organising the commemoration.

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in the Republic of Ireland and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland will work with the council and other stakeholders.

Ireland Park Foundation and INUA Partnership support Dr. George Robert Grasett Park in Toronto and new academic research


From the Ireland Park Foundation and INUA Partnership:

Ireland Park Foundation INUA Partnership

Dr. George Robert Grasett Park

Patch of Green to Honour Those who helped Irish Immigrants

Ireland Park Foundation has recently embarked on the creation of a second park in Toronto City Centre, commemorating the medical and clerical staff who sacrificed their lives assisting the Irish migrants in 1847. iNua Partnership will work with Ireland Park to maximise awareness for this ambitious new commemorative space, both in Canada and Ireland. The ultimate aim of course is to generate significant new streams of fundraising revenue to put towards the development of the Park and achieve its goal of being completed by June 21st 2016.

Toronto Ireland Park

Academic Research

The tradition of storytelling is an acclaimed part of Ireland’s culture that has positively influenced our reputation around the world.

So much of the extraordinary journey that carried our Irish ancestors to Canada can be told through storytelling. As a Partner to the Foundation, iNua Partnership is committed to keeping those stories alive and ensuring that we pass memories through stories to the next generation. To this end, iNua Partnership has commissioned NUI Galway’s Dr. Jason King to conduct new research to help uncover the remarkable and deeply personal stories of some of the thousands of Irish men, women and children who left from Cork and Limerick for Canada during the Famine years. These stories, in time, will be shared with you all.

Quinnipiac – the Grey Nuns of Montreal, and Irish Famine Research

Quinnipiac – and Irish Famine Research

A FEATURE by Christine Kinealy


Nestled under the beautiful Sleeping Giant Mountain, and adjoining the more famous town of New Haven, the town of Hamden in Connecticut, home to Quinnipiac University, might seem like an unlikely location to become a centre of Irish Studies within the United States.   However, Quinnipiac University is fast gaining a reputation as a hub for the study and appreciation of one of the greatest humanitarian disasters in modern European history – the Irish Famine of 1845 to 1852.

The Irish Famine – more usually referred to in North America as the Great Hunger (or An Gorta Mór) – was triggered by repeated failures of the potato crop in Ireland. Potatoes, although not native to Ireland, were by the mid-nineteenth century providing a subsistence diet to approximately 40 per cent of the population. Since 1801, Ireland had been governed from London and the British parliament was responsible for introducing legislation to deal with the crisis. Most of the relief measures, however, proved to be inappropriate and inadequate to meet the needs of the Irish poor. Moreover, insufficient regulation in regard to evictions and emigration further exacerbated the sufferings of the people.

Within the space of only six years, Ireland lost one-quarter of her population. Uniquely though, the country did not recover from this demographic shock, and by 1901 (a census year) the population had dropped to just over four million people. Mass emigration, both during the Famine and in the decades that followed, created large Irish communities overseas, from Sydney to San Francisco. For the descendants of these emigrants, the tragedy of the Famine, and the exile that resulted from it, became part of their founding narrative.

Regardless of the significance of the Famine both for those who remained in Ireland and for those who became part of the diaspora, until recently there were few memorials to commemorate this tragedy and only a small number of scholarly books had been written on this topic. The sesquicentenary commemorations in 1995 awakened both academic and popular interest in the Great Famine.   In the subsequent 20 years, there has been an outpouring of publications and a desire to create permanent memorials in many parts of the world. Furthermore, the interest has not been confined to Irish communities. In 2014, France introduced the Irish Famine as a topic to be studied for the prestigious agrégation exam.

Quinnipiac’s interest in the Famine originated with their President, John Lahey. In 1997, he was Grand Marshal of the New York St Patrick’s Day Parade. To honour the memory of those who had died in Ireland 150 years earlier, he made Great Hunger the theme of that year’s parade and called for one minute’s silence. The late Murray Lender, a Quinnipiac University alumnus and vice chairman of its Board of Trustees, was moved by what he observed and heard from President Lahey, and wanted to give his support in educating people about the causes and consequences of the Famine.   Murray and his brother, Marvin, provided the financial support that led to the creation of the Lender Family Special Collection Room in the Arnold Bernhard Library on the Mount Carmel campus. This small, beautiful room, which is shaped like a ship’s hold, was officially opened in 2000. Remarkably, the Lender brothers had no direct connection with Ireland.

Today, the Lender Family Special Collection is probably the largest collection in the world of published material relating to the Irish Famine. It consists of both primary and secondary sources, even including a set of nineteenth century British Parliamentary Papers. The collection is available for scholarly research, but the resources may be used only on the Library premises.

The collection also initially included artwork and sculptures relating to the Great Famine, but, as more art was acquired, it was decided to create a dedicated museum for this unique resource. Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum was opened in September 2012, in a specially-dedicated building situated about one mile from the Mount Carmel campus. It is now home to the world’s largest collection of visual art relating to the Famine. Works by noted contemporary Irish artists are featured, as well as a number of important 19th and 20th-century paintings.

In September 2013, Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute was established, to provide a scholarly underpinning to the work already taking place at Quinnipiac University. Additionally, part of its mission is to promote further research on the Great Famine, and to place the tragedy in its wider historical context.

In its relatively brief existence, the Great Hunger Institute has introduced an Irish Studies Minor to the undergraduate programme at Quinnipiac University. It has also established a rich schedule of cultural and historical events that are open both the university community and to the public. In April 2014, the Lady Sligo Exhibition was opened in the Lender Room of the Arnold Bernhard Library. It was based on the University’s collection of over 200 letters, written between the 1820s and 1870s, that were written by the Sligo family. Many were penned by Hester Catherine Browne – Lady Sligo – who had been born in County Galway in 1800, but at the age of 16 married the second Marquis of Sligo, owner of Westport House in County Mayo.   Some of the letters were written just as the Famine was appearing in Ireland. The letters demonstrate her concern and compassion for the welfare of the local poor. They also reveal the agency of a woman in nineteenth century Ireland. Without the survival of these letters, Lady Sligo would have been invisible from the historical record. The Exhibition closed on 22 March 2015, but the good news is that it is moving to Ireland – to Westport House, where it will form a permanent exhibition. So, fittingly, Lady Sligo is going home.

Lady Sligo's touching letter to a prospective migrant

A new exhibition, which tells the remarkable story of the religious orders in Montreal who selflessly came to the assistance of immigrants fleeing from the Famine who were sick with fever, opened at Quinnipiac University on 1 April 2015. It is entitled ‘Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger’ (Sauver les Irlandais de la famine: les Sœurs Grises et la Grande Famine). A centre-piece of the new exhibition is a beautiful painting by Theophile Hamel, entitled Le Typhus, which was commissioned by the Bishop of Montreal in 1848, to give thanks for all of the lives that were saved. It is possibly the first painting in the world dedicated to commemorating the Famine. The records kept by the Grey Nuns throughout these years, which were written in French, have been loaned to the exhibition by the Grey Nun Archive, and will be on display.

An unusual feature of both exhibitions, and one that has particularly intrigued the students, is a replica of a bonnet that would have been worn by a young woman who was part of the Earl Grey Orphan Emigration Scheme, introduced in 1848.   This unusual project sought to both correct the gender imbalance in Australia (where there were approximately eight men to every one woman) while relieving Irish workhouses of the burden of long-term inmates. Approximately 4,000 Irish girls arrived in Australia as a consequence of this scheme. Their presence changed the course of Australian history.

In early June 2015, the Institute will be hosting an international conference on the theme of ‘Women and the Great Hunger. A comparative approach’. It will be held at the York Hill campus, and will feature three keynote speakers: Dr Ciarán Reilly of Maynooth University, Dr Jason King of Galway University, and Professor Oonagh Walsh of Glasgow Caledonian University. The conference is open to the public (although there is a registration fee) and will include a visit to the Grey Nuns’ Exhibition, the Great Hunger Museum, and to New Haven. A conference proceedings will also be published.

One of the most exciting projects that the Institute is involved in is the production of a Graphic Novel (and if you are not sure what this is, ask anybody under the age of 25). Graphic novels are increasing used in teaching young adults and even undergraduates, the most famous example being Maus, which tells the story of the Holocaust through images and words. The forthcoming graphic novel is called ‘The Bad Times’ (An Droch –Shaol) and is based on the lives of three teenagers from County Clare. It is set between 1846 and 1849 and will be available in autumn 2015. The text has been written by Christine Kinealy and the artwork by Boston-based artist, John Walsh. It is hope that ‘The Bad Times’ will bring the story of the Great Hunger to a younger audience.

Quinnipiac is a relative newcomer in the world of Irish Studies, but the unique combination of Great Hunger Institute, the Great Hunger Museum, and the Great Hunger Collection, has created a wonderful resource for scholars and for anybody who has an interest in Irish history and culture. Visitors are always very welcome and the Institute would be delighted to hear of ideas for collaborations and partnerships.

More information about the work of the Great Hunger Institute…

Professor Christine Kinealy, Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, is author of Charity and the Great Hunger. The Kindness of Strangers (Bloomsbury, 2013)

Launch of “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger” Exhibit

Exhibit Launch Quinnpiac 2

Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute’s new exhibition attracted approximately 100 Irish and Canadian diplomats and scholars last night. The exhibit examines the selfless Grey Nuns, who risked their lives to offer aid to Irish immigrants to Canada afflicted with typhus fever. Read more: The exhibit, which opens today, runs through March 18, 2016 in a room modeled after a coffin ship in Arnold Bernhard Library. Here, Christine Kinealy, director of the institute, offers Barbara Jones, Consul General of Ireland in New York, a preview.


Exhibit Launch Quinnpiac


President John L. Lahey welcomed Marie-Claude Francoeur, Quebec Delegate to New England, and John Prato, Consul General of Canada in New York, to Quinnipiac University’s Mount Carmel Campus this afternoon for the debut of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute’s “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger” exhibition in the Arnold Bernhard Library. The special exhibit opens to the public tomorrow. Read more: