Sligo Famine Memorial
During the Great Famine of Ireland, between 1845 and 1850, the town and county of Sligo were especially badly affected. It is estimated that more than 52,000 people from the locality either died of disease or starvation, or else emigrated during this time.
Considered the greatest Irish tragedy, the famine was caused because of the failure of the potatoe crop. At the time that was the main food of the Irish people.
Originally the famine was known as “the blackness”, “the potato blight”, “the rot” or “the distemper.”
In Sligo, the Famine Monument can be found at Sligo Harbour. In July 1997, the monument was erected in memory of the huge number of local people who either died or suffered during the famine.
The plaque on the monument poignantly reads as follows:
Letter to America, January 2, 1850
I am now I may say alone in the world all my brothers and sisters are dead and children but yourself….We are all ejected out of Mr. Enright’s ground the times was so bad and all Ireland in such a state of poverty that no person could pay the rent. My only hope rests with you, as I am without one shilling and as I said before I must either beg or go to the poorhouse… I remain your affections father Owen Larkin be sure to answer this by return of post.
The monument is of a family who are in such horrible deep despair and trying to comfort each other. They are starving and have not hope. But the young girl is pointing towards the ships – the ships that brought desolate Irish people to America or Canada, with the hope of a new and better life.
It was commissioned by the Sligo Famine Commemoration Committee, to mark the 150th anniversary of Black ’47.
Sligo Town is 5 miles (7km) south of Rosses Point, around 8 minutes in a car.