Last Updated on March 26, 2018 by Chef Mireille
#TravelTuesday – Irish Hunger Memorial – from a local. A local’s perspective on discovering an unknown local site.
When you live in a large city, being a tourist doesn’t have to be getting on a plane or train and going to another city or country. Large cities are filled with so many gems – little monuments and museums even many locals don’t about…not to mention the thousands of restaurants there are yet to try. This information is interesting both to the local and the visiting tourist. I played tourist for a day and among other things visited the Irish Hunger Memorial, located in Battery Park City. Despite living in New York City my entire life, I never knew about the Irish Hunger Memorial.
Not just a memorial to the Great Hunger, but a memorial to hunger around the world, I was caught off guard what a humbling and evocative experience it was. As soon as you enter, you are greeted with dozens upon dozens upon dozens of thought provoking quotes. If desired, you can install an app that will provide you with a self guided tour.
- We know that a peaceful world cannot long exist 1/3 rich and 2/3 hungry.
- Customers don’t buy my yams not because people are no longer hungry or because they don’t eat yams anymore but because they don’t have the money.
- When a man is hungry the shame goes off him.
- Many a mischief is done to the gentleman of the country that they must overlook when they know the poverty of the people.
- What greater human right is there than the right to eat.
- Debt not weather is the real killer of Sahelian peasants. – Senegal, World Poverty Program, 1986
- Hunger will break through a stone wall. – Irish proverb
- Well fed people have many problems, hungry people have only one. – Chinese proverb
- Every day 25% of our food supply is wasted.
- We have to think back, reflect, understand, learn how the great starvation of 1845-1852 could have happened not simply to be in the position to understand history but to prevent it from ever happening again.
History of the Memorial
It was completed in 2002 and is an authentic representation of an Irish cottage in the countryside as way to commemorate An Gorta Mor, The Great Hunger. The Irish potato famine from 1845-1852 reduced its population about 20% with 1 million dying and another 1 million emigrating, most to the United States.
The Irish cottage that is located at the memorial is a 19th century cottage that was brought over from County Mayo in Ireland. As you leave the cottage, you climb up the stone stairs and are greeted with vegetation to represent Ireland’s rolling green hills. As you walk through a field with stone fences akin to the Irish countryside, you will encounter stones from all 32 counties of Ireland.
It was almost a spiritual experience for me especially in light of today’s volatile political climate. It had me thinking of world, hunger and poverty throughout the world. In order for the human race to continue, we must empathize with our fellow man and despite this horrible tragedy, I don’t think we have learned that much from the past when there is still so many starving people throughout the world and even here in the united states. Not having access to farmland and being able to grow their food is often the cause of this. I don’t have the answer to these questions, but this was such a spiritually rewarding experience for me and I’m glad I made this trip.
If you have kids, visiting the Irish Hunger Memorial would be such a great learning experience for them and now you’ve gotten #TravelTuesday – Irish Hunger Memorial – from a local’s perspective!
Take the 2 or 3 train to Chambers Street and then about 1 10-15 minute walk OR
Take the M22 bus when you exit the Chambers Street Station
Like to learn history when you travel? Savannah is your destination. Check out this post where I learned about Haiti’s role in the American Revolution in Savannah!