The Irish Famine Summer School
The Irish Famine Summer School is an annual international conference allowing delegates to engage with some of the world’s leading interdisciplinary experts in the Irish Famine. By gathering some of the world’s leading historic Famine scholars, it benefits the local communities and brings the town of Strokestown to life. The Summer School is run in association with our academic partners Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, home of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute and alternates each year between Quinnipiac and Strokestown Park. In 2017 the Summer School took place at Quinnipiac titled ‘Children and the Great Hunger in Ireland’.
The 2018 Irish Famine Summer School took place from 20th – 24th June at Strokestown Park. The theme was ‘Irish Journeys: Famine Legacies and Reconnecting Communities’. Strokestown Park House and the National Famine Museum provide a hub for visitors and scholars to experience a uniquely preserved historic house and explore the lives of rich and poor in their original setting.
The 2018 Summer School considered the Great Irish Famine and its legacies of dispersing communities between Ireland, Great Britain, North America, and Australia. Particular emphasis was placed on the theme of Irish journeys at home and abroad, including the experiences of Irish emigrants and their descendants in building communities and becoming integrated into their host societies. The topics of homecoming, revisiting Ireland, and reconnecting communities between Irish and diasporic locations were central themes.
Some of the highlights of the 2018 Summer School include the “Roscommon Connects: Community Building Through Shared Storytelling” showcase by new immigrants to Ireland living in Ballaghadereen; the launch of the Great Famine Voices Roadshow website featuring Irish-Canadians and Irish-Americans sharing their family memories and stories of coming from Ireland to North America; and especially singer-songwriter Declan O’Rourke in conversation with Professor Christine Kinealy when he performed songs from his award-winning album Chronicles of the Great Irish Famine in the library in Strokestown Park House. It was a poignant occasion to hear Declan sing about the Great Hunger in the home of the National Famine Museum. Click here for the programme.
Strokestown Park and the Irish Heritage Trust was supported by the Creative Ireland Programme, an all-of-Government five-year initiative, from 2017 to 2022, which places creativity at the centre of public policy. Further information from creative.ireland.ie and Ireland.ie.
The Famine Summer School was supported by the 2018 Festivals and Summer Schools Scheme, Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht.