Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Irish Hunger Memorial

One of the gems of Battery Park City is the Irish Hunger Memorial, located at the corner Vesey St. and North End Ave. The creation of artist Brian Tolle, the Memorial was designed to increase awareness of the Irish potato famine that began in 1845, while also calling attention to the current issue of famine in our society. (The famine ultimately contributed to the deaths of approximately one million people in Ireland, while an additional million emigrated, most to the U.S.) The Memorial includes stones from each of Ireland's 32 counties, as well as native vegetation from western Ireland. (The wildflowers, foxglove and little white roses were incredible, giving one the impression of walking through an Irish landscape - right in the heart of downtown Manhattan.) In the middle of the Memorial stands the ruins of a stone cottage, brought from Ireland and reconstructed on the site. From the overlook that faces the Hudson River one can look out to the Statue of Liberty as well as Ellis Island, where so many victims of the famine arrived. I had completely forgotten about the Memorial, but finally remembered reading about its 2002 dedication. It's a bit "off the beaten path," even for the tourists who swarm over the nearby "Ground Zero" site of the World Trade Center towers. In fact, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon there were only a handful of people visiting the Memorial. I'll definitely return, camera in hand, to see how the place changes with the seasons.









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3 comments:

Jessie said...

Hi Brian!
I just wanted to say thanks for the comment you left on my blog (nearly a month ago!)--after my visit to NYC. Your photography is wonderful and, scrolling through old posts I especially love your bulldog photo and old signs. I'm quite obsessed with both of those things these days and it is fun to see your world through the lens of the camera.

happy photographing!
j.

susanna said...

Oh my gosh, I hadn't even heard of this memorial before reading your post. I can't believe that I haven't seen it yet. Thank you for the information.

Barbara said...

Combing your archives again as I take a break from unpacking ... sigh...

If you ever have the chance to go to Ireland ... GO! We went for our belated honeymoon and it is truly a breathtakingly beautiful place. I even danced with a Mr. Thomas Davitt outside his cottage on a Sunday morning, his cow poking its head out of its barn window! The Cliffs of Mohr, Phoenix Park, the River Liffey (Anna Livia Plurabellle) .... a photographer with your skill would surely be smiling!

I read that Barack Obama's maternal great-grandfather came to the US from Ireland...