The Irish Famine Museum / Exhibition at St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin captures the history and tragedy of the Irish Famine, also known as Ireland’s Great Hunger.
Between 1845 and 1851 approximately one million Irish people died of starvation and disease and millions more fled Ireland in search of a better life. The tragic period of the Great Hunger in Ireland will forever be remembered by the Irish people and diaspora around the world as a grief-stricken time of intense loss.
In the years following the Irish Famine, there was an aura of silence, with those who survived reluctant to talk about what they had lived through. It is only in recent decades that we have begun to fully understand the history of the Irish Famine, to explore the facts and stories and to commemorate all those whose lives were lost.
The Irish Famine Museum / Exhibition does just this.
First held in Dublin throughout the summer of 2017, the exhibition was then called The Irish Potato Famine (1845 to 1852) its purpose was to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the Famine year 1847.
Returning seasonally every year since, the exhibition will re-open on Monday, April 15 and run through October 15. 2019.
Housed on the second floor of St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Center, conveniently located at the top of Grafton Street, the exhibition is open daily between 12pm and 6pm.
The exhibition tells the story of what happened during those horrific years of the Irish Famine. It uses rare 19th-century photographs, witness accounts, contemporary sketches as well as maps and statistical information to create a comprehensive portrayal. A 15-minute film with seating is included in the exhibition, and the average time spent by visitors is 1 hour.
You can book tickets in advance via the exhibition’s website or at the venue itself.
Due to popular demand, a DVD of the exhibition can also be purchased at the venue or online via the website and is compatible worldwide.
New artifacts on display for the 2019 exhibition include a Famine Pot from County Donegal as well as a workhouse coffin carrier.
The famine pot, which was used to make soup, is perhaps the ultimate famine memorial and was sometimes referred to as a soup boiler or workhouse pot.
The pots, made of cast iron, were mainly manufactured in Coalbrookdale in Shropshire, England by the Quaker iron foundry run by the Darby family. Six-hundred pots were supplied by the Government, a further 295 were provided by the Quakers themselves, and a number of them also came from the United States.
In the summer months of 1847, approximately 3 million Irish People relied on soup from these pots for their survival.
The coffin carrier / Bier is a grim testament to the death rate during the famine years. On loan from Johnnie Fox’s museum in Glencullen, County Dublin, the coffin carrier was used to transport the bodies of those who died in the Famine workhouses to their graves.
Some workhouses found a way to cut costs by using a reusable coffin which included a hinged door underneath. Once the burial took place, the body would drop out while the coffin could be lifted from the grave and used for the next victim.
These are just some of the precious artifacts that communicate the real history of the Irish Famine.
The exhibition is dedicated to all victims of the Irish Potato Famine or The Great Hunger.