Scene in Connemara  Oil on canvas. 1828. Photo by Frank Poole.  James Arthur O'Connor Copyright Frank Poole 2012

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum

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Following a unanimous vote of the Quinnipiac Board of Trustees, the university announced it will partner with the Gaelic-American Club of Fairfield, CT to serve as the new location for Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum collection.

This decision keeps the collection whole and preserves its vital historical significance in memorializing the Irish Great Hunger and the plight of victimized peoples. It also keeps the artifacts in Connecticut and assures a sustainable future and broad visibility for the museum. Read the full announcement.


The world’s largest collection of Great Hunger-related art

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University investigates the Famine and its impact through art. The museum interprets the Famine visually, allowing artists — both those contemporaneous with the Great Hunger and those working today — to explore the impact of the loss of life, the leeching of the land, and the erosions of language and culture. Through its display of outstanding historical and contemporary images, layers of history are peeled back, to uncover aspects of the Famine indecipherable by other means.

Images summon the past, and can sometimes be a form of evidence that events written about took place. But they do more. 

Interior of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University. Photographer Robert Benson.

The artwork in the museum, by some of the most eminent Irish and Irish-American artists of the past 170 years, such as Daniel Macdonald, James Mahony, Lilian Davidson, Margaret Allen, Howard Helmick, James Brenan, Paul Henry, Jack B. Yeats, William Crozier, Hughie O’Donoghue, Brian Maguire, Micheal Farrell, Glenna Goodacre, Rowan Gillespie, John Behan and Alanna O’Kelly, fulfill one of the obligations of memory — they honor the dead.

“The Irish Famine of 1845 to 1852 was the greatest social calamity, in terms of morality and suffering, that Ireland has ever experienced.”
Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland

Top image: Scene in Connemara, James Arthur O’Connor