A day to reflect on The Great Famine as commemoration announced

by Gary Ibbotson
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Minister Josepha Madigan

The Department for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has announced that the National Famine Commemoration will take place in Buncrana, Co Donegal on Sunday, May 24.

Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan, chair of the National Famine Commemoration Committee, declared the news last week.

This is the third time the state commemoration has taken place in Ulster, with the ceremony giving people the opportunity to honour those who died or were forced to travel abroad as a result of The Great Famine (1845 to 1849).

The commemoration will culminate in a solemn wreath-laying ceremony in the town.

Schools around the country will be invited to hold a minute of silent reflection on Friday, May 22 in memory of those who perished or suffered loss during the famine, while sporting organisations will be invited to observe a minute of silence at matches taking place over the weekend.

Minister Madigan said: “The National Famine Commemoration affords us an opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of those who perished and suffered during that desolate time.

“The choice of Donegal as host for the 2020 commemoration is particularly significant, given the impact of poverty and emigration on the people of the county throughout the 19th Century.

“With many people living in small, one-room houses and increasingly reliant on their potato crops, the famine swept through Donegal, causing disease, death, family fragmentation and emigration.

“The commemoration will reflect on this momentous event in Irish history and remember all those who suffered as a result of An Gorta Mor [The Great Hunger].”

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