Events at the main venue usually include lectures, arts events, and visits to places connected to the Famine. Local events also take place countrywide while a minute’s silence is encouraged for schools and workplaces.
Clare County Council last month invited local and community organisations, historical societies, local Famine Commemoration Committees, schools and other interested parties to propose a location in County Clare to host this event in 2013. Three submissions were received from Killaloe/Ballina, Tuamgraney/Scarriff and Kilrush, and were assessed by a specially appointed panel.
“While Killaloe/Ballina and Tuamgraney/Scarriff were considered strong contenders by the judging panel, they found that Kilrush's well known links with the Famine will make it a solid contender to host the National Famine Commemoration next year,” explained Congella McGuire.
She added: “There were 20,000 people evicted in the Kilrush Poor Law Union between 1847 and 1850, representing one quarter of the entire Union population. The majority of the evictees suffered dreadfully in the work house and subsequently died. Illustrations from Kilrush at the time of the famine featured in the London Illustrated News and these illustrations are the best recognised images of the famine conditions in Ireland. Images of the famine from Moveen were depicted and the ruins of this famine village are visible today. Other strong attributes from the area include the association with Captain Kennedy, Vandeleur Estate, the famine plot and memorial garden at Old Shanakyle cemetery, the Paupers' Quay, among many other sites and stories.”
Ms. McGuire continued: “In addition, Kilrush's submission included Kilrush Town Council and Kilrush and District Historical Society and both illustrated the huge commitment and support from the local community along with support from a broad range of organisations.”
“A formal submission on behalf of the county will now go forward for Kilrush as the bid to host the 2013 National Famine Commemoration in County Clare. We will work with Kilrush to submit a very strong expression of interest to the National Commemoration Committee before the 5th October 2012. I have no doubt there will be other bids from the Munster area but Kilrush certainly has very strong credentials to be the host for 2013,” she concluded.
Meanwhile, a month-long famine exhibition concluded this weekend at Áras Contae and Chláir in Ennis. The ‘Famine in Clare’ exhibition explored each Union and its electoral divisions during the period 1845-52, along with the effects of mass evictions which took place during and after the Great Famine.