Any visitors to Dublin this summer seeking knowledge about the catastrophic events of 1845-1852 should make it their business to visit the Irish Famine Exhibition.
This exhibition gives a clear introduction to the events of these years, exploring the various factors that led to the Great Hunger and setting the events in an international context. The ideologies that informed the British government’s response to the crisis are cleverly explained, as are the conditions which made the Irish populus so vulnerable to the depredations of the potato blight.
It’s commonly said that there are no photographs of the famine, but this exhibition gathers some heretofore unseen images of labourers from the 1850s, famine-era paintings and a number of images from the Sexton Collection of photography which demonstrate the unbearably poor living conditions of the Irish, even after the famine. Several images of evictions in the 1860s and 1880s are especially moving.
Records of famine relief which poured in from all corners of the globe show surprising links between the Irish nation and donors as diverse as the Ottoman Sultan and the inmates of Sing Sing Prison. A fifteen minute documentary gives an overview of the various relief efforts made, the attitudes of Irish landlords towards their tenants, and workhouse conditions as the famine took hold.
This is a moving and memorable account of the Great Hunger.
The Irish Famine Exhibition runs until September 30th 2018. For more information please visit www.theirishpotatofamine.com.