Two events will take place to-morrow in Listowel remembering those who were victims of the Great Famine – those who died from starvation and disease and those who were forced to leave their homes in Kerry and emigrate to the United States, Australia, New Zealand and England.
At 11 o’clock, two Listowel men who have both written histories of the period, will take us on a walk around the sites associated with the Famine in the town. Michael Guerin and John Pierse have both written well researched and gripping histories of these harsh times when over 5,000 Kerry people alone were buried in mass graves in Gale Cemetery and Teampall Bán. We will visit the site of the Workhouse, the Fever Hospital, some of the auxiliary Workhouses (there were 30 in all in the Listowel Union at the height of the disaster) and other scenes associated with this most tragic event in Irish history. It will be well worth listening to Michael and John giving us the benefit of years of research that both have put into this study.
Later at 7.30 there will be a Forum in the Plaza Centre which will explore this dark period of Ireland’s history with Thomas Keneally, Australian author of Schindler’s Ark and more recently, Three Famines: Starvation and Politics. John Crowley, William J. Smyth and Mike Murphy of UCC, will discuss their award winning Atlas of the Great Irish Famine, and yours truly will examine the many Famine connections within Listowel. Kerry Archivist Mike Lynch will facilitate the evening. We will give you a report on this next week.