During the period of 1845-1850, over a million Irish people died of starvation and disease, while many more were forced to emigrate to faraway shores. The widespread starvation was caused by the feudal system the British government imposed, in which the Irish people were forced to hand over their food as rent to their absentee landlords, while the Irish people depended on the potato crop for sustenance. When the potato crop failed, no substantial relief was forthcoming from the British government.
While this period in Irish history is frequently referred to as “The Great Famine,” it is more accurately called “An Gorta Mor,” which is Irish for “The Great Hunger.” Since 2008, Famine commemoration days are held internationally every May.
Many emigrants who came to New York perished in the Staten Island Marine Hospital and Quarantine Station behind where the St. George Courthouse now stands. To commemorate the many Irish immigrants who were quarantined and perished in Staten Island, a historic Historic Irish Famine Walk is being held on May 21, 2023. The following is a press release from the organizers:
3 Meet Up Points-
- Whitehall Terminal, Manhattan 1:00 PM
- Staten Island Railroad Entrance to Train at 2 PM
- Mass Grave, 26 Central Ave 2:15 PM
• Depart on SI Ferry at 1:30 PM
• Arrive at St. George Terminal, Staten Island 1:55 PM
FAMINE WALK and HISTORY OF THE IRISH FAMINE VICTIMS’ ARRIVAL, TREATMENT, and JOURNEY through THE MARINE HOSPITAL and QUARANTINE STATION on STATEN ISLAND
• Laying of wreaths and memorial flowers on mass Irish Famine Victim’s Grave at 2:45 PM
• Distribution of commemorative ribbons to those in attendance.
• Please bring biodegradable flowers/offering to leave on the mass grave.
• Lynn Rogers of Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries of Staten Island will talk about the History of the Marine Hospital and Quarantine Station and its connection with the Irish Famine, commonly referred to as An Gorta Mór, or The Great Hunger
• Loretto Leary discusses the connection with the Irish Great Hunger Museum exhibit by Rowan Gillespie – Statistic 1 & 2
Please join us on a walk back in time as we retrace the steps of your Irish ancestors on land and water during the years of The Great Hunger.
Using historical facts and images, Lynn and Loretto will walk you back in time on this inaugural “Famine Walk” to help paint a clearer picture of the Irish Famine emigrant experience in America.
We are hoping some Irish musicians will help us this year. Please let us know if you want to donate an hour of your music skills on May 21st in St. George.
Message Staten Island Marine Hospital and Quarantine Station’s Facebook page with your information and we will provide you with more details.
The site is located at 26 Central Ave, St. George Staten Island.
The time for the music will be 2:45 PM. We don’t have microphones or speakers. But we would love to see a few musicians for a session on the day. Thank you.