Lecture To Mark 150th Anniversary Of Irish Famine

One of the most devastating and far-reaching events in Irish history will be discussed at a Dec. 10 lecture, "The Great Famine Commemoration: An Gorta Mor 1845-1850," in Gasson 100 at 7:30 p.m.

Sponsored by the Irish Studies Program and the government of Ireland, the lecture will held as part of a 150th anniversary observance of the famine, during which an estimated 3 million people died or emigrated to the US and other countries.

The event will feature three speakers: Assoc. Prof. Kevin O'Neill (History), co-director of the Irish Studies Program; Kevin Whelan, a visiting professor at Notre Dame University and former Burns Scholar in Irish Studies at Boston College; and Luke Gibbons, a professor of communications at Dublin City University and author of Transformations In Irish Culture .

Irish Minister of State Avril Doyle, TD, will serve as moderator for the event. She is the chairwoman of the Irish government's Famine Commemoration Committee.

"The famine was a tremendous catastrophe that created a large Irish diaspora, which would have a major influence on North America and other parts of the world," said part-time faculty member Robert Savage (History), a coordinator of the event who teaches in the Irish Studies Program.

"Those years have become part of the folk memory of Irish America and helped define the way it thought of itself," he said. "Today, the famine also represents a shared experience for Ireland with countries, such as those in East Africa, which are experiencing similar problems. This awareness helps bring that past squarely into the present."

The event is free and open to the public.

-S.S.

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