Great Famine Voices

The Great Famine Voices project brings together Irish emigrants, their descendants, and members of their communities to share family memories and stories.

In doing so, it is creating a poignant record of those who came from Ireland to North America and Great Britain, especially during the period of the Great Hunger but also in the years that followed.

The Great Famine Voices Roadshow is inspired by the search for the 1,490 former tenants who were forced to emigrate to North America from the estate of Major Denis Mahon at Strokestown Park, now the site of the National Famine Museum, at the height of the Great Famine in 1847. It was cheaper for their landlord to pay for their emigration to Canada (via Liverpool) than it was to keep them in the Roscommon poorhouse. Only about a third of them survived traumatic journeys to build new lives in the UK and North America.

The Great Famine Voices Roadshow is an ambitious project that is building a detailed picture of memories and stories about the Irish emigrant experience that are at risk of being lost. The 2022 Roadshow was funded by the Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme.

What is the Great Famine Voices Roadshow?

The roadshow brings together people from across Ireland, the UK, and North America through open house events, online events and short films.

Participants share in poignant and uplifting conversations about the experience of leaving Ireland and putting down new roots.

At the National Famine Commemoration Day, May 2022 (left to right): Great Famine Voices members Declan O’Rourke, Professor Mark McGowan, (University of Toronto) An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, Dr Jason King (Irish Heritage Trust).

Stories from the Great Famine Voices Roadshow

Watch stories from the roadshow to connect with famine emigrants and their legacies at the Great Famine Voices Website.