The Irish naval vessel L.É. Samuel Beckett completed a sail-by of the Irish Great Hunger Memorial in New York, remembering one of the foundation stories of New York. 

In a mark of respect to the Irish who emigrated to the US during the Irish famine and in the years afterward, on Wednesday, October 2, the Irish naval vessel L.É. Samuel Beckett completed a sail-by of the Irish Great Hunger Memorial in New York. 

Holding offshore on the Hudson River, the crew stood to attention to pay tribute to the memorial and all it represents while onlookers gathered onshore, a moving testament to the change the famine had on Ireland and how Irish famine immigrants, in turn, came to change New York and the United States.

Read more: A virtual tour of New York’s Great Hunger memorial

Yesterday morning the Irish naval vessel L.É. Samuel Beckett completed a sail-by of the Irish Hunger Memorial in New York, a moving tribute to the memorial and all it represents. Thanks to @IrelandinNY @naval_service @BatteryParkCity

— IrishCentral (@IrishCentral) October 3, 2019

Commissioned in 2014, the LÉ Samuel Beckett undertakes maritime surveillance and fishery protection operations around Ireland but in recent years has also been deployed on international humanitarian duty, including operations in the central Mediterranean to tackle human smuggling and prevent further loss of life of migrants. The humanitarian work carried out by the Irish Naval Service in the Mediterranean has saved thousands of lives in recent years.

“No monument in my experience is as spectacular as this one is,” commented the Consul-General of Ireland Ciarán Madden from the memorial as the L.É. Samuel Beckett stood offshore, adding that it was not hard to imagine the horror of leaving Ireland for America during the famine as similar horrors could be seen in other parts of the world today. 

Lovely farewell to the L. É. Samuel Beckett from the Irish Hunger Memorial this morning with some poignant words from @irishradio, Consul General @maddenciaran1 and @BatteryParkCity Pres. Jones. Safe travels to the crew of the Irish naval vessel as they make their way to Boston!

— Irish Consulate NYC (@IrelandinNY) October 2, 2019

“The Great Hunger changed our world,” he added, establishing it as one of the “foundation stories of New York.” 

“The Great Hunger changed how Ireland viewed the world … we are not inward-looking.”

The LÉ Samuel Beckett has been involved in the rescue of some 80,000 migrants in crisis, an accomplishment that the Consul General applauded as a fitting tribute to the Irish who also looked to flee from poverty and hunger in terrible circumstances. 

Read more: How to honor Irish Famine Commemoration Day in the US

A solemn and touching salute by Irish @naval_service ‘s L.E. Samuel Beckett at the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City (appropriately, passing Ellis Island on the way). Special thanks to @irishradio

— Ciaran Madden (@maddenciaran1) October 2, 2019

He added that Ireland understands that we are part of “shared humanity, with that comes responsibilities and we are willing to take on those responsibilities.

“Taking on those responsibilities is the greatest testament we could have to those in the Great Hunger.” 

The LÉ Samuel Beckett has now shipped to Boston where it can be visited this Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm at Charlestown Navy Yard. 

#SamuelBeckett arriving in #Boston earlier today. #P61 will be open to the public on Friday & Saturday 10:00 - 17:00 at Charlestown Navy Yard  @GlobalIrish #MeetTheFleet ☘️

— Irish Naval Service (@naval_service) October 3, 2019

Have you visited the Great Hunger Memorial in New York? Let us know about it in the comments section, below.