15 October 2017
By Mary Bermingham
Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Chair of the National Famine Commemoration Committee, has announced that next year’s National Famine Commemoration will take place on Saturday, 12th May 2018 in University College Cork. The event will be hosted by University College Cork in collaboration with Cork City Council. The focal point of the 2018 commemoration will be the launch of The Great Irish Famine Online.
Minister Humphreys said:
“As chair of the National Famine Commemoration Committee, I am very pleased to announce that next year’s National Famine Commemoration will be held in the grounds of UCC. Of course, the College was established in 1845 and opened in 1849, with construction continuing throughout the Famine years. Perhaps it is this history that has led UCC to become a leader in the field of research in and study of the Famine years.”
“In recent years, the National Famine Commemoration has been held in historic sites such as Glasnevin Cemetery and, only last month, in the Famine Workhouse 1848 in Ballingarry, Co. Tipperary. I am very pleased that on its return to Cork, having previously been held in Skibbereen in 2009, the Commemoration will take place in such a historic setting.”
“I am certain that the college and the City will come together to produce a fitting tribute to those who suffered during those darkest of years, not only on the day of the Commemoration but also through the development of a rich surrounding programme.”
UCC President, Professor Patrick O’Shea commented, “UCC is honoured to work with Minister Humphreys and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Cork City Council and host the National Famine Commemoration. The University has supported and invested in research on the Great Irish Famine for over twenty years. The award-winning publication The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine is internationally regarded as the most original and insightful publication on this topic”.
Professor O’Shea continued, “This research continues as reflected in the Famine Online Project led by Mike Murphy, Cartographer, UCC. This flagship collaborative project includes colleagues from the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Education and Skills. It will result in the creation of a new digital resource of global significance of which all the partners can be immensely proud.”
Outlining the benefits of the initiative, Professor O’Shea said, “the project will make unique information globally available and for free. It will facilitate people across the world to explore and analyse the information pertaining to the famine for each individual three thousand parishes and sixteen hundred towns across the entire island of Ireland. The Great Irish Famine Online is a fascinating new resource that will make important contributions to new understandings of our past. This is one of the biggest contributions to Irish famine knowledge, research and education. It will allow people explore this tragic event like never before, made possible by the use of modern technology”.