October 20, 2010

Famine Echoes: Ireland and the United States Friday, 22 October 2010 /Launch of War and Peace, Ireland since the 1960s by Professor Christine Kinealy, Drew University, at O’Lunney’s Times Square Pub, 145 W45th Street, 6.30-8.30. Phone 212 840 6688


Saturday, 23 October 2010

Venue: Our Lady of the Rosary Church, 7 State Street, Manhattan. 212 269-6865. Website-  

 Session One: 11.00-1.00 Denying The Famine: Starvation and Survival 

Chair: Patricia Harty (Irish America magazine)

 Gerard McAtasney, “Hidden history; Protestants and An Gorta Mor in Ulster, “Sean Cahill, ‘Hunger, feasting and revenge in the songs of Eoghan Ruadh O Suilleabhain and Maire Bhui Ni Laoire , Mary Pat Kelly, ‘A Galway Famine migration to America’

 Session Two: 2.30-4.30 Famine memories 

Chair: Martin O’Muilleoir (The Irish Echo)

 Christine Kinealy, “Living with the legacy of the Great Hunger,” Sinead McCoole, ‘Ireland’s memory-Famine in Mayo’


Sunday, 24 October 2010


Ecumenical Service for the Famine Dead at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, 7 State Street, 10.00 a.m. Concelebrated by Fr. Peter Meehan and Rev. Dr. Ronnie Stout-Kopp (Anglican/ Episcopal). Music by Mary Courtney

 Session Three: 11.00-1.00 Experiencing Famine  

 Chair: Jim Cullen (Brehon Law Society)


Gerard McAtasney, “A merciless proprietorship“? Responses to the 1822 Famine in County Leitrim, Henry McNally, ‘The Famine Irish: America’s first minority group, Joe King, ‘Readings from a Famine novel’

 Session Four: 2.30-4.30  Radical legacies


  Chair: Michael MacDonald (Author of All Souls and Easter Rising), Ruan O’Donnell ‘Irish-American republicanism, 1938-62 Joe Jamison, ‘Responses from Irish-America’


Display of artwork by Robert Ballagh and Kit DeFever


Sponsored by O’Lunney’s Times Square Pub, Sean Coakley Plumbing, Rosie O’Grady’s (New York), O’Dwyer and Bernstein, The Brehon Law Society, The Kinsale Tavern, L T B Mechanical, Beckett’s (Stone Street), Irish America magazine and The Irish Echo.


Organized by Owen Rodgers and Deanna Turner, Irish Diaspora Committee, Dr. Ruan O’Donnell, University of Limerick and Visiting Patrick B. O’Donnell Chair of Irish Studies, Notre Dame University and Michael MacDonald, Author and writer.





A major event on the Great Irish Famine is set to take place in New York on October, 23 and 24, 2010.  Scholars, journalists and writers from Ireland, the UK and US will gather at the Seton Shrine, Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, State Street, (lower Manhattan) to explore the impact of the catastrophe that drove millions of survivors across the Atlantic to virtually every part of the USA and Canada.  Fittingly, over 100,000 single Irish girls and women were housed in New York’s most famous Mission prior to assimilating into the population of New York and beyond.  The historical building is located opposite Battery Park and close to the striking Irish Famine Memorial.

Organizers Owen Rodgers, Michael MacDonald and Dr. Ruan O’Donnell launched the concept during a very successful event in Times Square during St. Patrick’s Week 2010 and have now assembled an impressive array of experts on the Famine and its legacy in the USA.  The speakers included are renowned historian Professor and author Christine Kinealy; author and curator Sinead McCoole, MA

Kinealy will discuss “Living with the legacy of the Great Hunger”’ in what promises to be one of the highlights of the event.  Another participant, Dr. Gerard MacAtasney, who had co-authored a book with Kinealy on the impact of the Famine in Belfast has completed a new work entitled “An Gorta Beag-The 1822 Famine in County Leitrim.”  Both are at the cutting edge of Famine research.

McCoole will deliver a lecture entitled “Ireland’s Memory – Famine in Mayo” illustrated with images from the extraordinary Jackie Clarke Collection, Ballina, County Mayo.  This will include new research on the Ballina workhouse, famine in Attymass (where the first deaths in the sector were recorded) and the Slack family whose cottage is now part of the Battery Park memorial.  Other contributors, Galway Bay author Mary Pat Kelly and historian Henry McNally, will address the aspects of the Famine migrations to the US.

O’Donnell, an expert on the history of Irish Republicanism, will argue that the anger and displacement caused by the Famine engendered an unprecedented level of revolutionary fervor amongst the Irish communities of New York City which lasted for several generations.  This, in turn, profoundly influenced the development of the modern Irish state.  According to O’Donnell: “the War of Independence in Ireland would have been impossible without the logistic, moral and direct support of Irish America.”.  O’Donnell works in the University of Limerick and is the Patrick B. O’Donnell Visiting Chair of Irish Studies at the Keogh-Naughton Institute, Notre Dame.

A number of authoritative respondents have been lined up to broaden the discussions, including Irish America editor, Patricia Harty; Irish Echo Publisher, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir; Boston writer, Michael MacDonald (author of the classic memoir All Souls); and the eminent Jim Cullen of the Brehon Law Society.

An Ecumenical service for the Famine Dead will be concelebrated in Our Lady of the Rosary Church at 10.00 on Sunday, October 24, 2010.  Admission to all events is free and all are welcome.

Paintings by renowned artists Robert Ballagh and Kit De.Fever will be displayed at the event.

Further events on the history, politics and culture of the Irish Diaspora are planned.  The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary is located at 7 State Street, New York. (212) 269 6865.Website – www.   For details of the conference contact Deanna Turner at