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Call for Ennistymon Famine memorial refurbishment

MAYOR of Clare, Councillor Joe Arkins was requested to facilitate the refurbishment of a Famine memorial in Ennistymon during a recent visit to Chicago. Concerned about the tarnished state of the memorial, a number of Clare exiles in Chicago approached Councillor Arkins during his recent trip to Wisconsin in the US to represent the county at the Milwaukee Festival. Representations were also made to the mayor when he visited a similar structure in Gaelic Park, New York. An Gorta Mór Memorial was erected in memory of the victims of the Great Hunger and was dedicated in Ennistymon on August 20, 1995 – the 150th anniversary of the tragedy. It is located across from a deserted workhouse, where an estimated 20,000 Irish people died and a mass graveyard for children, who perished and were buried without coffins on the Lahinch Road between Ennistymon and Lahinch. The memorial was erected by a combined effort of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) and …

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No resting place for Famine memorial

MORE than five months after the National Famine Commemoration was held in Kilrush, local town councillors still cannot decide where to locate the commemorative sculpture. In fact, only one member of the public responded to a council invitation for suggestions as to where the sculpture by Paddy Murray should be installed. After a long debate at Tuesday’s Kilrush Town Council meeting, councillors decided to defer a definite decision until October. Some councillors admitted that the location issue has dragged on for so long they would struggle to recognise the sculpture if they saw it. “I’ve forgotten what it looks like and how big it is,” Councillor Ian Lynch said. “We don’t know what it looks like. Because of the plinth, we haven’t seen it all,” Councillor Mairéad O’Brien stated. Town clerk John Corry revealed that an invitation for submissions from the public, issued in July, was met with an under-whelming response. “I received one submission. The location that was identified …

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Fitting memorial for Famine dead

THE memory of more than 2,000 victims of famine and fever buried in Ennis was commemorated at the weekend. Clare Roots Society, in conjunction with the National Famine Commemoration 2013, unveiled a Famine Memorial on Sunday to remember the burials in the Famine burial plot of the Old Drumcliff Cemetery. Paddy Waldron, vice-chairman of the Clare Roots Society, spoke about the National Famine Commemoration and the history of the famine in Ennis and throughout the county. After a short liturgy of prayer by Fr Tom Hogan and Canon Bob Hanna the memorial was unveiled by Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Peter Considine. MC at the unveiling, John Bradley of the Clare Roots Society, told those gathered, “The commemoration of the Great Hunger allows people everywhere to reflect upon a terrible episode that forever changed Ireland”. He added that many of the conditions that led to the famine still exist. “The lessons of the Irish famine need to be constantly learned and …

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The Great Famine and Scariff Workhouse

THE Annals of the Poor: Scariff Workhouse Union Counties Clare and Galway 1839-1851 will be launched this Sunday in Scariff by John Minogue, assistant principal of St Flannan’s College. The MC is Colm Madden. Gerard chose to conduct research and write this book because so little was known about the workhouse in Scariff and very little has been documented about it. Although he, together with Michael O’Gorman, published a book on workhouses in 1974, this book is a chronological account and references records that have only since been made available online in the last 15 years and, in particular, the work of Dr Richard Robert Madden. Dr Madden, no relation of Gerard’s, offered up a first-hand account of life in the Scariff Workhouse and his reports shed a lot of light on what was happening there, particularly with regard the diet of the inmates and mortality rates there. “His work was really important. He visited the actual workhouse; he visited …

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