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Great Famine remembered

Published: Mon, 29 Jun 2015
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L-R Dr Isabelle Humphries, Guest speaker, Billy Nevin, Irvinestown Famine Committee, Comghal McQuillan, NIHE, Marion Henderson, Irvinestown Famine Committee, Ignatius Maguire, NIHE, Breege McCusker, Irvinestown Famine Committee, Uel Wright, NIHE, Oonagh McAvinney, NIHE, Eileen Quinn, Irvinestown Famine Committee, Seamus Monaghan, NIHE.
Famine Committee and Housing Executive
We have erected a new memorial in Irvinestown to commemorate the Co Fermanagh victims of the Great Famine (1845-1850).
It is a memorial to those who made the perilous journey to a new life in America. It was part of a £40k investment by our Grounds Maintenance team, in partnership with Irvinestown Famine Graveyard Committee, which has seen the famine graveyard completely renovated, replanted and access improved.
The newly restored graveyard was officially opened by our South Region Manager, Comghal McQuillan, who was delighted with the outcome of the investment. The site, where many Co Fermanagh victims of the Great Famine were buried, is now a ‘must see’ attraction for Irvinestown and will enhance the town’s heritage offering.
Much of the work involved improving access to the graveyard and memorial with a new path installed for wheel-chair users so the whole community can visit. In addition our Grounds Maintenance team examined all of the trees and arranged for a number of diseased ones to be removed replacing them with similar varieties to create a comparable landscape.
Comghal McQuillan, our South Region Manager, commented:
“I am delighted with the outcome of the work which our Grounds Maintenance team has undertaken here in Irvinestown. This scheme is a clear example of how we contribute much more than bricks and mortar to a local community.
“I’d like to pay tribute to the Irvinestown Famine Graveyard Committee for their input and I’d particularly like to congratulate our Grounds Maintenance Manager, Uel Wright, and his team for the work they have done in transforming this site.”
Breege McCusker, Chair of Irvinestown Famine Graveyard Committee, was delighted with the work saying:
“Looking at the completed site I am thrilled with what has happened as are the rest of the committee. It is definitely now a ‘must-see’ site for anyone interested in the history of the Great Famine and its effects in the Co Fermanagh area.
“On behalf of the Committee I’d like to thank the Housing Executive for supporting this initiative and in particular Uel Wright and his team for the marvellous outcome.”
The new memorial stone was created by stonemason Adrian McGovern. It highlights the towns in Co Fermanagh (Enniskillen, Irvinestown and Lisnaskea) which have work houses and famine graveyards as well as Ardess which has a famine pit. The ship represents those who sailed to a new life in America/Canada.
Here’s a link to the album of the event.