Kilrush selected as location for the National Famine Commemoration 2013.

January 14th, 2013 - Pat Breen

Clare T.D. and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen T.D. has today (Monday) warmly welcomed the announcement that Kilrush has been selected as the location for the National Famine Commemoration 2013.

“Following representations, I was delighted to be informed by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan T.D. that Kilrush has been selected as the location for this year’s commemoration and I would like to thank to Minister Deenihan for his support.

Given that Kilrush has such strong links with the Famine I was very happy to support the local community with their application. This is the sixth consecutive year in which the National Commemoration of the Famine is taking place and it is very fitting that it is being held in Kilrush.

Sadly the Great Famine had a huge impact on Kilrush and the entire West Clare Peninsula. Records from 1849 tell the tale of those harrowing events. In 1841 the population of Kilrush was 5,071 and the impact of the famine has been that the population has since never exceeded 2,800. As well as that this County recorded the highest number of evictions from 1845-1852 in proportion to its population with the number of evictions recorded at the Kilrush Poor Law Union the highest throughout the County. The workhouse served the entire Loop Head peninsula so that this commemoration will not just mark events which happened in the town of Kilrush but events which took place in the entire wider West Clare area.

Kilrush is a Heritage town with a strong maritime tradition. It is a lively market town with a very active Community and I would like to pay particular tribute to the local Kilrush & District Historical Society. Kilrush Town Council, Clare County Council and FAS for their work in making today’s announcement possible with a lot of work already done to restore the famine graves in the Town.

This Commemoration is a fitting tribute to all those who suffered during the Great Famine. It will provide an opportunity for all those who have connections to the events in West Clare who are now living in some other part of the Country or abroad to return to Kilrush to be present to remember the sad events which took place in West Clare in the early years of the 19th Century.

Given that this is the year of the Gathering, holding the Commemoration in Kilrush should help to bolster the number of visitors into the area and I would hope that a number of other events can be held around the Commemoration which would provide even greater encouragement people to come visit West Clare this year. “