Belfast Telegraph

US city to commemorate Great Famine

The US city of Boston is to host an international ceremony in honour of the 1.5 million Irish people who died or emigrated during the Great Famine.

The Massachusetts port was a popular destination for many who were forced to flee Ireland on coffin ships during the notorious hunger of 1845 to 1851.

Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan announced the city would be home to the fourth International Commemoration of the Great Irish Famine during a visit to the Irish Hunger Memorial at Battery Park City, New York.

The event will coincide with The National Famine Commemoration which is taking place in Drogheda this year.

"Drogheda was the second largest port of departure for over one million people who were forced to emigrate," said Mr Deenihan.

"Some travelled only as far as Britain while others travelled onwards from the UK to North America. Many of these people arrived in Boston, full of hope for a better life.

"We know from the evidence of Irish heritage in Boston that many settled and prospered in that city."

Mr Deenihan said he would be working with the community in Boston and in particular the Charitable Irish Society, whose 275th anniversary falls this year, to ensure that the victims of the famine are remembered and respected in a dignified manner.

There have been three international commemorations of the Great Irish Famine to date, including in Canada, New York and last year in Liverpool. The dates for both this year's national event in Drogheda and international ceremony in Boston are to be announced in the coming weeks, said Mr Deenihan's department.

The minister is on an official visit to New York leading a cultural delegation of more than 70 Irish theatre, music and dance artists to take part in the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference, the world's largest performing arts market.

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