The Irish Hunger Memorial is a half acre monument located in the Battery Park City neighborhood in Manhattan. It was co-designed by artist Brian Tolle, landscape artist Gail Wittwer-Laird, and 1100 Architect in memory of the 1845- 1852 “Great Hunger” or “An Gorta Mor” that killed over one million people in Ireland.

irish hunger memorial

Photo via 1100 Architect 

The memorial was created in New York City as a reminder to all of the New Yorkers and Americans who can trace their Irish heritage back to those years when so many people immigrated to the United States from Ireland as a last desperate attempt at survival. An estimated 800,000 New York City residents can trace their Irish heritage back to this immigration event.

irish hunger memorial 4

Photo via Wikimedia 

This tragic historic period is also sometimes called the Irish Potato Famine because approximately one third of the population was 100% reliant on the crop, so when it was wiped out and inedible in 1842 the mass starvation began and was soon followed by related diseases, in an already poor and hungry nation this was devastating and a few years later the immigration began, after having no options left.

irish hunger memorial 2

Photo via inetours

While the outside of the memorial depicts a stereotypical natural Irish landscape, the inside is made of over 300 million year old imported Kilkenny limestone, which has ancient fossils from the Irish seabed. It also displays, in illuminated bands, words along the walls which combines the story of the Great Hunger with modern statements about world wide hunger issues. Around 110 quotes are used from poems, biographies and autobiographies, letters, speeches, songs and even recipes.

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Photo via Redbubble

 The memorial is especially beautiful to visit in the spring or summer as it is a miniature rural world of its own, and its elevation gets it some great breezes off of the river from the top, a small escape from urban surroundings into nature.

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Will you visit the Irish Hunger Memorial on your next trip to NYC?


American by chance, but Roman by choice, Sarah is currently feeding her adventurous soul with expatriatism and pizza. Her finest moments are always on the wrong bus with a backpack and an upside down map, waiting to see what the world’s got for her next, so long as she can blog about it. She likes writing more than talking, dolphins more than humans, old movies more than new, and Rome more than anything else.

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