The Famine Memorial in Dublin

famine memorial in Dublin

Rowan Gillespie’s sculptures

This blog post came about while I was walking from an event in Dublin this week.  It was a beautiful evening and since I wasn’t in any hurry and I had my camera with me I was enjoying a lovely stroll. I was walking along the water, and was actually admiring the trees when I came across this memorial.  The statues are amazing.  I thought the flowers which were placed on them brought another dimension to them, too.

Famine memorial Dublin

Dubliner Rowan Gillespie’s sculpture

Here is what I learned about the Memorial on

“‘Famine’ (1997) was commissioned by Norma Smurfit and presented to the City of Dublin in 1997. The sculpture is a commemorative work dedicated to those Irish people forced to emigrate during the 19th century Irish Famine. The bronze sculptures were designed and crafted by Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie and are located on Custom House Quay in Dublin’s Docklands.

“This location is a particularly appropriate and historic as one of the first voyages of the Famine period was on the ‘Perserverance’ which sailed from Custom House Quay on St. Patrick’s Day 1846.  Captain William Scott, a native of the Shetland Isles, was a veteran of the Atlantic crossing, gave up his office job in New Brunswick to take the ‘Perserverance’ out of Dublin. He was 74 years old. The Steerage fare on the ship was £3 and 210 passengers made the historical journey. They landed in New York on the 18th May 1846. All passengers and crew survived the journey.” (from Docklands)

Famine memorial Dublin

Famine memorial created by Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie

The Famine happened in Ireland between 1845 and 1852.  Between starvation and emigration it is estimated that Ireland lost 25% of its population.

Famine memorial Dublin

Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie’s Famine memorial Dublin

Maybe you’ve heard it referred to as the Potato Famine.  This is due to the fact that so many Irish people relied mainly on potatoes to feed their families and during the 1840s a potato blight destroyed crops all throughout Europe and Ireland.

Famine memorial Dublin

Rowan Gillespie’s Famine Memorial Dublin

The Famine effected Irish history in so many ways: politically, socially, demographically.

The Famine Memorial statues in Dublin

The Famine Memorial statues in Dublin created by Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie

I found this memorial to be a beautiful reminder to “stop and remember”.

In peace,

4 thoughts on “The Famine Memorial in Dublin

  1. Outstanding sculptures! What a tribute to such a sad time… I’ve heard of the potato famine, but these sculptures brought a visual reality of what happened. Thank you for posting and sharing Dana!

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