"Illustration: The Unflinching Eye" exhibit at Ireland's Great Hunger Museum. November 8:: 2012. Photographer Mark Stanczak. Copyright Quinnipiac University 2012. All rights reserved.


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Our Permanent Collection

Our Permanent Collection

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum is home to an expanding collection of original art dating from the 19th century through the present day. Works by noted contemporary Irish and Irish-American artists are featured, as well as a number of important earlier works. The museum offers a unique opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to begin to explore the hitherto largely unrepresented, unspoken and unresolved causes and consequences of this tragedy, as well as to appreciate the art that continues to be inspired by it.

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

Our collection

Various pieces on display inside Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University.


Lady of the West

Grace Henry

Daniel MacDonald, 1820-53, “Irish Peasant Children”. Oil on canvas. 1846. Image courtesy of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, Quinnipiac University. Photo by Frank Poole. Copyright Frank Poole 2012.

Irish Peasant Children

Daniel Macdonald

“Other famines followed, as other famines had gone before, but it is the terrible years of the Great Hunger which are remembered, and only just beginning to be forgiven.”
Cecil Woodham-Smith
Author, "The Great Hunger," 1962


America Comes to Ireland's Aid

America Comes to Ireland’s Aid

This temporary exhibit tells the story of Elihu Burritt (1810-79), the “Learned Blacksmith,” who internationalized the 19th-century world peace movement, and brought knowledge of Ireland’s Great Hunger to the American people.

Burritt, who was born in New Britain, Connecticut, arrived in Dublin on February 11, 1847, and visited Kilkenny, Cork, Bandon, Skibbereen and Castlehaven. His visit culminated in the publication of "A Journal of a Visit of Three Days to Skibbereen, and its Neighbourhood" (1847).

“I can find no language nor illustration sufficiently impressive to portray the spectacle to an American reader.”
Elihu Burritt

Traveling Exhibition

Traveling Exhibition

Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger

In 2018-2019, Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University will send 50 pieces of art from its acclaimed collection home to Ireland for 12 months. The works will go to The Coach House at Dublin Castle, West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen, and Culturlann Ui Chanain in Derry for the exhibition Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger.

This major undertaking aims to strengthen the deep cultural connection between Ireland and its diaspora by showcasing the world’s largest collection of Great Hunger-related art never before exhibited on Irish soil. Please join with us in making this powerful artistic, cultural and educational endeavor a memorable one.

Learn more

Rainbow's End (detail)

William Crozier

Eviction, c. 1850, Daniel Macdonald 1820-53, Image courtesy of the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork

Eviction (detail)

Daniel Macdonald

Past Exhibition

Past Exhibition

In the Lion’s Den: Daniel Macdonald, Ireland and Empire: January 20 – April 17, 2016

Much is known internationally of Irish artists James Barry, the Neoclassicist, Daniel Maclise, the arch Victorian, and the Expressionist Jack B. Yeats, but many other significant artists have slipped into obscurity — Daniel Macdonald (1820–53) more than most. Macdonald was one of the most talented, audacious and experimental artists of his time.

Daniel Macdonald holds the distinction of having painted the only known painting of the Great Famine, An Irish Peasant Family Discovering the Blight of Their Store, exhibited in London in 1847, now in the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin. The death of one million people, the emigration of another million, and the subsequent depletion of the population of Ireland by one half made the Famine the single worst demographic catastrophe of the 19th century — one that was largely avoidable.

Daniel Macdonald  1820-53  "The Fighter"  1844  Oil on canvas  Image courtesy of Sir Michael Smurfit

The Fighter

Daniel Macdonald

In the Lion’s Den was an important landmark in Irish and Irish-American cultural and social history, and was the first exhibition of its kind. The exhibition was curated by Niamh O’Sullivan.

The exhibition was funded in part by a grant from Connecticut Humanities and event sponsorship from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

Macdonald Publication

"In the Lion’s Den: Daniel Macdonald, Ireland and Empire" by Niamh O'Sullivan is available to purchase at the museum and online. The book is the first critical biography of Daniel Macdonald and examines his life and work in the context of the social, political and cultural flux, before and during the Great Famine, in Cork and London.

Selected Press

Art New England, April 2016
“In the Lion’s Den: Daniel Macdonald, Ireland and Empire”

The Irish Times, April 2016
“In the Lion’s Den: Daniel Macdonald, Ireland and Empire, by Niamh O’Sullivan Review"

The New York Times, February 2016
“The Artist Who Dared to Paint Ireland’s Great Famine”

Hartford Courant, February 2016
“Hunger, Past and Present, Topic of Bridgeport, Hamden Exhibits”

The Irish Times, February 2016
“Book on Famine Painter Daniel Macdonald Launched in Dublin”

Irish Central, January 2016
“The Only Known Painting of The Great Hunger to Come to US” 

Republican-American, January 2016
“Irish Hunger Artist: Works by Macdonald Highlight a Dark Time”

Republican-American, December 2015
“Irish Hunger Museum Celebrates Noted Artist”

Irish Examiner, April 2015
“Cork Artist Daniel Macdonald’s Hunger for Truth”