How was your family impacted by the Irish famine? Did they leave Ireland to flee to the US? Do you remember any of the stories that you heard about them?

Now is the time for the Irish in America and Canada to tell their stories.

The Great Famine Voices Roadshow will be launched in New York on April 9 at the American Irish Historical Society and will then tour the US and Canada.

The Roadshow is a series of open house events in the United States and Canada that bring together Irish emigrants, their descendants, and members of their communities to share family memories and stories of coming from Ireland to North America, especially during the period of the Great Hunger and afterward.

Read more: The real story of Queen Victoria and the Irish Famine

“We are excited about meeting people during the Great Famine Voices Roadshow and hearing their family stories about how their ancestors came from Ireland to start new lives in the United States,” declared Christine Kinealy, Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, Connecticut.  

“This Roadshow will provide a unique opportunity for Irish-Americans and Irish-Canadians to share their stories, strengthen their sense of ancestry, and historical and current Irish connections."

Read more: The Great Hunger and Ireland’s lasting bond with the US

“All are welcome to these events”, said Caroilin Callery, a Director of the National Famine Museum in Strokestown Park, Ireland.

“Over the past few years, we have been in search of stories from ‘the next Parish’ in the US, where so many of those who survived the Great Hunger – the biggest catastrophe of 19th-century Europe – made new lives. We need to hear these stories.”

A selection of these family memories and stories will be made freely available on the Great Famine Voices online archive www.greatfaminevoices.ie

The Great Famine Voices Roadshow will visit: 

  • April 9 - American Irish Historical Society, New York (launch), 991 Fifth Avenue
  • April 11 - Burns Library, Boston College, 4-8:30p, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill
  • April 13 - Glucksman Ireland House, New York University, 11am-4pm, 1 Washington Mews   
  • April 15 - Parkway Central Library, Philadelphia, 1pm-4:30pm, 1901 Vine Street
  • April 17 - Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, Connecticut, 11am-3pm, 1 State Street   
  • May 22 - Madden Hall, St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, 5-9pm, 81 St. Mary Street
  • May 27 - St. Gabriel’s Church (and Walk to the Stone), Montreal, 10am-5pm, 2157 Centre Street    

The Great Famine Voices Roadshow in the USA and Canada will be hosted by the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park, Ireland, and the Irish Heritage Trust, an independent charity.

The Roadshow will be held in partnership with Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, the American Irish Historical Society, and the University of Toronto.  It is funded by the Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme.

For more information, see http://www.strokestownpark.ie/great-famine-voices-roadshow/ or email: tm@turloughmcconnell.com

An older portrait of Queen Victoria, the Irish Famine Queen.Carl Rudolph Sohn (1845-1908) - The Royal Collection/Public Domain.