It is a great honour and privilege for County Roscommon to be chosen to host the National Famine Commemoration in 2015. The Great Irish Famine was one of the most catastrophic events in Irish History. The famine altered the demographic, economic, social, political, cultural and psychological development of modern Ireland.
The impact and repercussions of the famine in circumstances where one million people died and a further one million emigrated left an indelible mark that is still evident today in each and every parish in the country. We, as a local authority, with a strong sense of our cultural, historical, heritage and community identity are committed to fostering an appreciation and understanding of events that shaped our County and recognize the opportunity this National Famine Commemoration presents to highlight the very real impact of the famine in County Roscommon.
Between the years 1841 – 1851 the population of County Roscommon decreased by over 80,000 people, representing the highest population loss (31%) of any county in the country. Within that ten year period lays the very real tragedy of starvation, evictions, emigration, disease and death.
Remembering and commemorating the complex story of the famine is being undertaken through a comprehensive programme taking place from 20th – 21st June 2015. With Strokestown Park House and the Famine Museum at the centre of the commemorations the programme includes events ranging from the literary festival, famine exhibitions, library displays, lectures, talks and readings, children’s workshops, schools’ art exhibition, genealogy centre, street theatre, wreath laying and commemorative famine wall unveiling.
I would like to acknowledge the support and contribution of all partners including the Department of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Roscommon County Council, Strokestown Park House, Strokestown Community Development Association, NUI Maynooth and the local community, who have all worked together to ensure the success of the programme and provide a very warm welcome to all visitors to the county for the occasion.
Martin Connaughton MCC
Mayor of County Roscommon