Irish Famine Sculpture Exhibition Opens at Consulate

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Quinnipiac University to Open Major Exhibit of Irish Famine Sculpture, Paintings and Literature at the Consulate General of Ireland in New York City

May 20, 2010

HAMDEN, Conn., May 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Quinnipiac University will open a major exhibition of sculpture, paintings and writings about the Irish Famine on Friday, May 21, at the Consulate General of Ireland in New York City. This marks the first time the exhibit has ever traveled from its permanent home in the Lender Special Collection Room at Quinnipiac.

“Ireland’s Great Hunger, An Gorta Mor, The Quinnipiac University Collection,” focuses on the famine years 1845-1850, when a blight destroyed virtually all of Ireland’s potato crops for consecutive years.

The crop destruction, coupled with British governmental indifference to the plight of the Irish, who at the time were part of the United Kingdom, resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Irish men, women and children and the emigration of more than two million to nations around the world. This tragedy occurred even though there was more than adequate food in the country to feed its starving populace.

Exports of food and live stock from Ireland actually increased during the years of the Great Hunger. The exhibition contains sculptures by noted artists John Behan, Glenna Goodacre, Rowan Gillespie and Kieran Tuohy. Several of the pieces in the collection are maquettes, or miniatures, of Famine memorials that have been erected in recent years both at Irish ports where families embarked for new lands and at ports of entry in the United States and Canada, where the Irish fled in desperation.

Paintings, lithographs, photographs and etchings by artists Padraic Reaney, Micheal Farrell and Kit de Fever are also featured.


The extensive book collection held in the permanent collection at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, is represented in photographs and video features. The books are used for scholarly research both at the University and by other faculty scholars.

The exhibition is on display at the Consulate General of Ireland, 345 Park Ave., 17th floor, New York City, through Sept. 3. Visitors are welcome to view the exhibit weekdays, but should call the Consulate at 212-319-2555 for specific times and hours or visit the website Admission is free.

Quinnipiac University is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours south of Boston. The university enrolls 5,700 full-time undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students in 52 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs of study in its School of Business, School of Communications, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, School of Law and College of Arts and Sciences. The 2009 issue of U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges named Quinnipiac as the top up-and-coming school with master’s programs in the North. For more information about Quinnipiac, please visit


SOURCE Quinnipiac University

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