Irish Canadian Famine Research

Irish Canadian Famine Research

Tag: Christine Kinealy

Great Famine Voices Roadshow coming to the United States and Canada

FIRST GREAT IRISH FAMINE VOICES ROADSHOW TOURING THE USA AND CANADA

Bringing together Irish emigrants and descendants during the Great Famine of Ireland

http://www.strokestownpark.ie/great-famine-voices-roadshow/

The Great Famine Voices Roadshow will be launched in New York on 9th April at the American Irish Historical Society. The Great Famine Voices Roadshow is a series of open house events in the United States and Canada that bring together Irish emigrants, their descendants, and members of their communities to share family memories and stories of coming from Ireland to North America, especially during the period of the Great Hunger and afterwards.

“We are excited about meeting people during the Great Famine Voices Roadshow and hearing their family stories about how their ancestors came from Ireland to start new lives in the United States,” declared Christine Kinealy, Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, Connecticut. “We hope that people of Irish heritage in Canada will come to the Roadshow to share their family memories,” added Professor Mark McGowan from the University of Toronto.

“This Roadshow will provide a unique opportunity for Irish-Americans and Irish-Canadians to share their stories, strengthen their sense of ancestry, and historical and current Irish connections. All are welcome to these events”, said Caroilin Callery, a Director of the National Famine Museum in Strokestown Park, Ireland. “Over the past few years, we have been in search of stories from ‘the next Parish’ in North America, where so many of those who survived the Great Hunger – the biggest catastrophe of 19th century Europe – made new lives. We need to hear these stories,” she continued.

A selection of these family memories and stories will be made freely available on the Great Famine Voices online archive.  www.greatfaminevoices.ie 

The Great Famine Voices Roadshow in the USA and Canada will be hosted by the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park, Ireland, and the Irish Heritage Trust, an independent charity. The Roadshow will be held in partnership with Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, the American Irish Historical Society, and the University of Toronto. It is funded by the Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme.

 

DETAILS OF ROADSHOW VENUES – All Welcome to these Free Open House Events. 

April 9th: American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Avenue, New York (launch)

April 11th 4pm-8.30pm: Burns Library, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill

April 13th, 11am-4pm: Glucksman Ireland House, 1 Washington Mews, New York University

April 15th, 1pm-4:30pm: Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia.

April 17th, 11am-3pm: Knights of Columbus Museum, 1 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut.

May 22nd, 5-9pm:  Madden Hall, St. Michael’s College, 81 St. Mary Street, University of Toronto.

May 27th, 10am-5pm: St. Gabriel’s Church, 2157 Centre Street (and Walk to the Stone), Montreal.

 

 

For media inquiries in the USA, contact: Turlough McConnell at tm@turloughmcconnell.com or Elizabeth Martin (917) 873-6613 ekm@turloughmconnell.com

For queries, or if you would like to contribute a family memory or story online, contact Dr Jason King at the Irish Heritage Trust: faminestudies@irishheritagetrust.ie

http://www.strokestownpark.ie/great-famine-voices-roadshow/

 

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“Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger” Exhibit Launched at Maynooth University

Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (1).JPG

 

Image: Letter introducing the Bishop of Montreal from the collections of the Russell Library 
When: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 – 16:00 to Thursday, January 25, 2018 – 17:00
Where: Russell Library

Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger
Exhibition at the Russell Library

An exhibition exploring the little known story of the Grey Nuns and other religious orders in Montreal, who provided care and shelter to Irish immigrants in Canada during the Great Hunger, will launch in the Russell Library on Wednesday, 8 November at 16.00. Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger was curated by Professor Christine Kinealy, Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, and Dr. Jason King.

Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (40)

Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (84)

Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (12)

One of the first priests to enter the fever sheds with the Grey Nuns was Father Patrick Morgan, who was ordained at Maynooth College in May 1842. Morgan was also one of the first clergy to perish from the typhus epidemic, dying on the 8 July, 1847.

Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (7)

Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger exhibition features original material from the historical collections of Maynooth University and St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth including the matriculation entry for Father Patrick Morgan and a letter of introduction for Montreal’s Bishop, Ignace Bourget (1799-1885), who visited Maynooth in 1847 to recruit Irish missionary priests.

Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (16)

The exhibition will run in the Russell Library until 25 January, 2018 and is free to view during the Library opening times of Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10:00 to 13:00 and 14:00 to 17:00.
https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/news-events/saving-famine-irish-grey-nuns-and-great-hunger

Photos by Alan Monaghan

Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (97)

Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (43)

Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (52)

Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (15)

Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (18)Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (34)

Maynooth launch aRussell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (5).JPG

Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (11)

Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (6)

Russell Library Grey Nuns Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (10).JPG

 

“Saving the Famine Irish” Grey Nuns Exhibit Opens at EPIC Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin

Epic Grey Nuns launch 6.jpg

Dr Jason King (Irish Heritage Trust) and Professor Christine Kinealy (Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University), curators of the “Saving the Famine Irish” exhibition at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum.

EPIC will be hosting a temporary exhibition charting the experiences Irish Famine refugees in Canada. “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger” tells the story of the religious orders in Montreal whose members gave selflessly to Irish immigrants during the summer of 1847 – their time of greatest need. The exhibition runs in Unit 5-6 of CHQ from 30/03/2017 until 22/04/2017.

Epic Grey Nuns launch 1.jpg

From left: Caroilin Callery (Irish National Famine Museum), Christine Kinealy (Quinnipiac University), Jason King (Irish Heritage Trust), Fiona Ross (Epic), Robert Kearns (Ireland Park Foundation).

Many thousands of people fled from Ireland during the Great Hunger and immigrated to Canada. Famine immigrants to Montreal were not only among the poorest of the poor, but many of them arrived already sick with typhus fever. Despite this, a number of people in the English and French Canadian communities provided the ailing and the dying with shelter and support. In the forefront of this compassionate movement were the Sisters of Charity, also known as the Grey Nuns. The exhibition is co-presented by EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum and Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University. It is currently on display to mark the 170th anniversary of ‘Black 47’, the high point of the Great Irish Famine.

Epic Grey Nuns launch 3.jpg

Jason King, Christine Kinealy, Michael Blanch, Fiona Ross.

http://epicchq.com/event/saving-famine-irish-grey-nuns-great-hunger/

 

 

 

 

 

CFP: Children and the Great Hunger in Ireland Conference

cfp-children-and-the-great-hunger-in-ireland-2017

Call for Papers: Children and the Great Hunger in Ireland

Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, in partnership with the Irish Heritage Trust at StrokestownPark, is hosting an international conference,

“Children and the Great Hunger in Ireland.” In any sustained period of food hunger and famine, children are one of the most vulnerable groups in terms of disease and mortality. The Great Hunger that occurred in Ireland between 1845 and 1852 is no exception. This conference will explore the impact of famine on children and young adults. While the focus will be on Ireland’s Great Hunger, a comparative approach is encouraged. It is anticipated that a selection of papers will be published.

  • Children and poor relief •Children and philanthropy •Abandonment and societal shame •Children’s literature and children in literature •Visual representations of children and young adults •Childhood diseases •Vagrancy and prostitution •Children and crime •Averted births and demography •Proselytizing the young •Children in print and material culture •Teaching the Great Hunger •The Earl Grey Scheme •The churches and children •Children in folklore •Sport and leisure •Famine and the family •Children of the Big House •Children and emigration •Memory and survivors’ accounts •Witness accounts •Memorializing the young

Papers are welcomed from all disciplines and from both established scholars and new researchers. Abstracts of 250-300 words for 20-minute papers or proposals for roundtable sessions on specific themes, together with 100-word biographical statements, should be directed to:

Professor Christine Kinealy: christine.kinealy@quinnipiac.edu And Dr Jason King: faminestudies@irishheritagetrust.ie

Deadline for receipt of abstracts 31 January 2017

Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers pays tribute to Grey Nuns of Montreal and Canadian Famine Irish at launch of Digital Irish Famine Archive

Digital Irish Famine Archive Launch 2

From right to left: Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers; Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Professor Christine Kinealy; Curator of Digital Irish Famine Archive (NUIG), Dr. Jason King.

Statement for launch of Digital Irish Famine Archive from Ambassador Kevin Vickers:

It gives me great pleasure to launch the Digital Irish Famine Archive and “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger” exhibit.  Both the digital archive and the exhibit commemorate and pay tribute to the Grey Nuns of Montreal and people of French and English Canada, like Bishop Michael Power in Toronto and Dr. John Vondy in Chatham, now Miramichi, New Brunswick, who gave their lives caring for Irish emigrants during the Famine exodus of 1847.  It is especially fitting that we launch the digital archive on this day, after Montreal’s Irish community has just made its annual pilgrimage to the Black Stone monument, which marks the site of the city’s fever sheds and mass graves for six thousand Irish dead, and before the Irish Famine Summer School begins at the Irish National Famine Museum in Strokestown, County Roscommon.  The stories contained within the digital archive attest to the selfless devotion of the Grey Nuns in tending to typhus-stricken emigrants and providing homes for Irish orphans.  In an age of increasingly desperate acts of migration, their compassion provides a lesson for us all.

The Digital Irish Famine Archive can be found at (http://faminearchive.nuigalway.ie/).

Grey Nuns at “Women and the Great Hunger in Ireland” Conference, Quinnpiac University, June 5, 2015

Grey Nuns at Quinnipiac

From Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University:

Among our more than 50 guests at our “Women and the Great Hunger in Ireland” conference are Sister Marlene Butler GNSH, left, of Yardley, Penn., and Sister Anne Marie Beirne GNSH, of Queens, N.Y. The Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart visited our year-long “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger” exhibit in the Arnold Bernhard Library. “It’s absolutely wonderful,” Sister Butler said. “We try to create a more compassionate world — and it’s really inspiring to see what the Grey Nuns accomplished in Montreal.” Sister Beirne said the exhibit demonstrates how much we can all help each other. “Just hearing the stories is so emotional.” She is continuing the work of her predecessors by volunteering her time at Marguerite’s Pantry in New York. “It’s living a life of compassion,” she said. “That’s what they called us to do.” Read more: http://bit.ly/1G0s2Ab

Grey Nuns exhibit setup 2

GreyNunGarb

During their visit Dr. Jason King delivered a keynote address entitled “Sacred and Sacrilegious Women’s Testimonials: The Grey Nuns and Maria Monk, Famine Irish Migrants, and the Montreal Fever Sheds in 1847-1848″.

He suggested that the sacred images and religious iconography of French-Canadian and Irish female religious caring for Montreal’s Famine emigrants in the “Saving the Famine Irish” exhibit were directly influenced and shaped by the sinister impressions of Maria Monk a decade earlier, which they sought to repudiate and replace.  In the decade before the Irish Famine influx into Montreal in 1847, the very same orders of priests and nuns who cared for Irish emigrants and rescued Famine orphans had become figures of infamy following the publication of The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk, or, the Hidden Secrets of a Nun’s Life in a Convent Exposed (1836).  Her purported autobiographical account of her experiences within and escape from the Hôtel Dieu convent was a staple of American nativism and a best-seller, with over three hundred thousand copies purchased by 1860 – second only to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the antebellum United States.  In her Awful Disclosures, Maria Monk claimed to have been incarcerated in Montreal’s Hôtel Dieu convent in which she alleged that acts of sexual abuse and infanticide routinely occurred, although her allegations were comprehensively discredited in the years that followed.

Grey Nuns launch 3

Hotel Dieu convent

It is profoundly ironic that the very same priests and nuns who were vilified by Maria Monk in 1836 for plotting to murder helpless Irish infants became iconic figures and venerated in popular memory a decade later for their salvation of Famine orphans. In fact, this tension between sacred and sacrilegious, or iconic and idolatrous images of women and children was embodied in the figures of the uncloistered nun with the Irish infant, which provided a focal point for the popular memory of Maria Monk as well as the fever sheds. Ultimately, it was only by forgetting the sacrilegious figure of Maria Monk that the sacred memory of the clergy and female religious who cared for Irish emigrants in Montreal’s fever sheds could be preserved and transmitted.

Maria Monk with child

Nuns rescuing orphans in fever sheds of Montreal

Irish America: The Grey Nuns at Quinnipiac

From Irish America:

The Grey Nuns at Quinnipiac

GreyNunGarb

Sarah Churchill, Assistant to Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute examines a photo of a Grey Nuns. Images by Johnathon Henninger.

By Matthew Skwiat, Contributing Editor
June / July 2015

Anew exhibit on the Grey Nuns hosted by Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University opened April 1. A private event launching the exhibit took place on March 31 with the Canadian Consul General, Quebec Delegate to New England, and the Irish Consul General of New York all in attendance.

The long overdue exhibit shines a light on the untold number of English and French Canadians who provided charity and support for the thousands of immigrants who fled Ireland during the Famine. Foremost among them were the Sisters of Charity, who were more commonly referred to as the Grey Nuns. Theirs is a story of compassion and resolve during a time of great suffering and one which has been largely overlooked.

Quinnipiac launch 4

Barbara Jones, left, Consul General of Ireland, Marie-Claude Francoeur, Quebec Delegate to New England,Christine Kinealy, John F. Prato, Consul General of Canada, and Jason King toured the exhibit “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger” on display at the Arnold Bernhard Library on the Mount Carmel campus of Quinnipiac University. The exhibit opened to the public April 1, 2015. (Photograph by Johnathon Henninger / for Quinnipiac University)

The exhibition, “Saving the Famine Irish: The Grey Nuns and the Great Hunger,” was a joint collaboration between Christine Kinealy, founding director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute and professor of history, and Jason King, Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellow at Moore Institute at Galway University, and the Arnold Bernhard Library. Kinealy said of the exhibit, “The story of the Grey Nuns, and of the other religious orders who helped the dying Irish immigrants, is one of kindness, compassion and true charity” adding “this is a remarkable story that deserves to be better known.” ♦

_______________

The exhibition runs through March 18, 2016.

Famine walk from Roscommon reaches Dublin

From Irish Times (April 22, 2015)

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/famine-walk-from-roscommon-reaches-dublin-1.2185538

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

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

Quinnipiac – and Irish Famine Research

http://tintean.org.au/2015/04/06/quinnipiac-and-irish-famine-research/

A FEATURE by Christine Kinealy

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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: http://bit.ly/1C3v6WR 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: http://bit.ly/1C3v6WR