The annual Irish commemoration of the Great Hunger will cross the border to the North for the first time since it began in 2008 in Dublin. The location of the commemoration has rotated between the four provinces every year in recognition that the Famine affected all parts of the island.
Heather Humphreys, the Republic's minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, welcomed Newry's "strong application, the enthusiasm shown by the local community for the project and their determination to mark the occasion in a fitting, respectful and inclusive manner.”
The event is supported by the Northern Ireland Executive through the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), with the newly-established Newry, Mourne and Down District Council playing "the lead role in organizing.”
"While the scale of suffering was greater in some parts of Ireland than in others, all parts of the island suffered great loss of life and the destruction of families and communities through emigration," said Humphreys.
”As an Ulster woman, I look forward to participating in the event in Newry in September," she said.
Dr. Éamon Phoenix said new research "undermines the old idea that Ulster was spared the worst of the effects of the famine.”
"In Co. Fermanagh, one third of the population died, people from both traditions," he said.
"These were from diseases of the famine, fever, typhus and cholera that they carried pestilence with them on the road into the towns. Lord Lurgan, a local landowner was one of the victims.
"In Belfast, thousands of people died from famine fever and cholera. Friar's Bush graveyard in Stranmillis has an area known as Plaguey Hill and is the last resting place of 2,000 victims of disease who died in Belfast during the Great Famine .
"Country people, many who were Irish speaking, knew Belfast was Ireland's only industrial city and took the road north, looking for a bowl of soup, a bed in the workhouse and possibly a cheap ticket to America or even Liverpool."
Newry was one of the ports through which famine victims fled to Britain and the United States, said Dr. Phoenix.
Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said it was a "landmark initiative in Newry (which) will help communities across this island to better understand the impact and legacy of the famine on all sections and traditions in our society.”
The last commemoration in the province of Ulster was at Clones, Co. Monaghan in 2011.
An international famine commemoration also takes place each year – the most recent one was in New Orleans, in 2014.