The Irish Memorial monument at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia will be moved from its location due to development projects in the area.
The bronze monument, which was sculpted by artist Glenna Goodacre, is the centerpiece of a 1.5-acre park designed by award-winning landscape architect Pauline Hurley-Kurtz. Dedicated in 2003, it was built to commemorate the 150th anniversary of An Gorta Mor, the Great Hunger, and to recognize the contributions of the Irish to the city, state and nation.
The Irish Memorial is located adjacent to the southeast corner of Front and Chestnut Streets in downtown Philadelphia.
Bob Gessler, the president of The Irish Memorial Board of Directors, told The Irish Edition that the move is “due to two large development projects affecting the area. One is the long-term multi-phase initiative to rebuild and improve Interstate 95 in Pennsylvania. The other is part of a $225 million development project designed to reconnect the city to the waterfront.”
He said: “The Board of The Irish Memorial is in support of development projects as they certainly will enhance and improve the area for all residents and visitors to the area. The Irish Memorial will be a key element in the newly constructed park, which will likely include restaurants, housing and hotels, and most importantly a large public space.”
The board is currently looking for a relocation site for the memorial. However, Gessler promised that the move was only temporary and the memorial will be returned to its original location.
“The Board of The Irish Memorial spent a significant amount of time in the original site selection process and determined that the current location was most desirable for the type of park contemplated. Since that time, we have invested significantly in promoting the site as a destination. The Board has had assurances for the various stakeholders that The Irish Memorial will be re-built on the original site. So, the short answer is a resounding NO to a permanent relocation and YES to returning to its original home.”
He said the memorial is important to the city and is a destination for visitors from all over the country.
Gessler said the memorial was “not a singular statue but an entire unified park consisting of information stations, native plantings and standing stones. It is a contemplative space that tells the story of the Irish Starvation.”