Famine Summer School

Famine Journeys and Trails: Communities, Diaspora, Memory

2023 Famine Summer School, National Famine Museum, Strokestown Park, Ireland. 

June 22-25, 2023

Call for Papers:

The 2023 Famine Summer School will take place at the National Famine Museum, Strokestown Park, County Roscommon, Ireland on June 22-25, 2023. The theme of the 2023 Famine Summer School is “Famine Journeys and Trails: Communities, Diaspora, Memory”. 

The 2023 Famine Summer School commemorates the voyage of the 1,490 assisted emigrants from Strokestown who fled the Great Hunger in Ireland in 1847. Their journey from Strokestown to Dublin along the banks of the Royal Canal can be followed along the National Famine Way walking trail (nationalfamineway.ie). From Dublin, they were transported to Liverpool and then crossed the Atlantic on some of the worst of the coffin ships, such as the Virginius and Naomi,with mortality rates of over fifty percent. After their arrival at Grosse Île (now Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada that is twinned with Strokestown) in Quebec, Strokestown’s 1,490 Famine emigrants travelled onwards through the fever sheds of Montreal (marked by the Black Rock memorial) to destinations in Canada West as well as the United States. Their journey was emblematic of the Irish Famine migration of 1847. 

One objective of the 2023 Famine Summer School is to explore potential connections between the National Famine Way in Ireland and developing Famine trails and heritage sites in Canada, Great Britain, and the United States. More broadly, we welcome proposals for 20 minute papers and envisage dedicated panels on the topics (but not limited to) of the Great Hunger and its impact on communities, the Irish Diaspora, education, heritage, and memory. Proposals from established and emerging academics, graduate/postgraduate students, independent scholars and local historians, authors and artists are all welcome. 

Enquiries and proposals of no more than 250 words, accompanied by a brief biographical note on the speaker, should be sent to Dr Jason King: faminestudies@Irishheritagetrust.ie and/or Professor Christine Kinealy: Christine.Kinealy@quinnipiac.edu by 1 February 2023. Decisions on proposals by the organising committee will be communicated by the end of February. 

The keynote speakers and artists for the 2023 Famine Summer School are: 

Caroilin Callery (Irish Heritage Trust) 

Lance Daly (Director, Black ’47

Professor Christine Kinealy (Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University) 

Robert Kearns (Canada Ireland Foundation)

Professor Mark McGowan (University of Toronto) 

Dr Eamonn McKee (Ireland’s Ambassador to Canada)  

The Irish Famine Summer School is an annual international conference that explores the history and the impact of the Great Irish Famine.

The events brings together some of the world’s leading famine scholars to share their ideas and research at Strokestown Park, which has become established as a centre for learning about the Great Hunger.

Strokestown Park is home to the National Famine Museum, and the Strokestown Park Famine Archive, a unique resource that sheds light on daily life here in Roscommon during a tragic and tumultuous period in Ireland’s history.

Strokestown Park hosts the Famine Summer School every second year – in alternate years, the event is hosted by Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, home of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute.

When you come to Roscommon as a delegate, the summer school programme will give you the chance to explore Strokestown Park’s unique story, as well as engage with some of the world’s leading interdisciplinary experts on the Great Irish Famine.

‘Heroes of Black ’47’ 

The 2022 conference was held at Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University on 1-3 June 2022.

The keynote speakers included Professor Christine Kinealy (Quinnipiac University), Dr Gerard Moran (NUI Galway), Kirk Prichard (Concern Worldwide) and Dr Jason King (Irish Heritage Trust).

The Summer School Brings Strokestown Park to Life with Fresh Ideas and Debate

It also creates wonderful opportunities for locals and delegates to spend time together. A fascinating programme of social events combines history, culture, music, debate, community and friendship with reflection on each School’s key theme.

Strokestown Park’s Famine Summer School Highlights

  • “Roscommon Connects: Community Building Through Shared Storytelling” – A showcase by new immigrants to Ireland living in Ballaghadereen
  • The launch of the Great Famine Voices Roadshow website, which features Irish-Canadians and Irish-Americans sharing their family memories and stories of coming from Ireland to North America.
  • Singer-songwriter Declan O’Rourke appeared in conversation with Professor Christine Kinealy to perform songs from his award-winning album “Chronicles of the Great Irish Famine” in the library in Strokestown Park House.
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