Published on Sunday11thSeptember2016

Famine Cross Unveiled at Annual Famine Commemoration


The Famine Cross, unveiled today at a ceremony at Glasnevin Cemetery

President Michael D. Higgins, accompanied by Arts Minister Heather Humphreys, officiated at the National Famine Commemoration at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin today.

Following the ceremony, President Higgins unveiled a Famine Cross as a memorial to those who perished during the years of An Gorta Mór. Today’s formal State ceremony included military honours and a wreath laying ceremony by Ambassadors to Ireland in remembrance of all those who suffered or perished during the Famine, as well as music from local choirs and St. James’s Brass and Reed Band, Ireland’s oldest band.

Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:

The Famine left an indelible mark on Ireland, devastating communities the length and breadth of this country. The annual Famine Commemoration provides us with an important opportunity to remember the one million people who perished, and the one million who were forced to emigrate as a result of the failure of the potato crop.

Records from Glasnevin Cemetery show that at the height of the Famine, 50­60 funerals were taking place here daily. People from the four provinces of Ireland, those from Dublin and those who made their way there in search of reprieve, are buried throughout Glasnevin Cemetery, making it one of Ireland’s largest Famine burial grounds. It is fitting therefore, that the Famine Cross will stand in Glasnevin as a permanent memorial to the Famine victims.

The ‘Famine Cross’ is a mid ­19th­century hand­sculpted celtic cross donated by Glasnevin Trust. Unfortunately, the sculptor is unknown. The die stone and base, which like the cross are sculpted from Blue Kilkenny limestone, were hand crafted by McKeon Stone, Stradbally. The hand cut inscription was executed by Aileen Ann Brannigan.