EPIC is honoured to be welcoming President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins to visit the museum on Wednesday 21 March.
President Higgins has been a long-time supporter of the Irish diaspora and issues of migration have often been to the fore in his speeches representing Ireland around the globe:
“Our diaspora is one of Ireland’s greatest resources: through the contribution our people make to the nations they migrate to; through the bonds they forge with the peoples of those countries, our migrants have allowed Ireland to have global connections far beyond our size.”
President Higgins has often eloquently expressed the significant role that emigration has played through the course of Irish history, as well as in more recent years:
“We Irish have migration, exile and the integration of strangers and strangeness at the heart of our cultural experience and our consciousness.”
EPIC is located on Custom House Quay, a place where so many Irish people left our shores during the Great Famine. This catastrophic event in Ireland’s history is marked by Rowan Gillespie’s poignant famine sculpture by the River Liffey.
In October 2017, President Higgins unveiled another sculpture by Rowan Gillespie in Hobart, Tasmania. Titled ‘Footsteps’, this sculpture recalls a group of women transported from Ireland in the mid-1800s for petty crimes, 13,000 of them sent to Van Diemen’s Land, as Tasmania was then known.
Watch President Higgins’ speech: