Monday, March 10, 2008

Dublin 3: Famine Ships

Down by the quay-side in Dublin there is this haunting set of statues. This is the Famine Memorial by local sculptor Rowan Gillespie.

The collection of waif like figures - maybe a family? - reminds us of a time when Ireland wasn't the Celtic Tiger it is today but when the population fell by between 20 and 25% and maybe a million died, in what became known as the Great Irish Famine.

It was also a time of mass emigration, as thousands if not another million headed across the water for a new life. But this path could be as treacherous, with over-crowded boats and insufficient food for all the passengers.

Just along from the Famine Memorial is moored the Jeanie Johnston, (below) a replica of one of the Famine Ships that took families away from Ireland to the North American countries.

In some boats the conditions were so bad they were known as Coffin Ships

Ironically the food in Dublin was pretty good. Oysters followed by rabbit, washed down by a pint of the ubiquitous Guinness.

Hopefully the memorial makes us appreciate what we have all the more.

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