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Home > Arts & Events > Irish Hunger Memorial

Irish Hunger Memorial

Vesey St. at North End Ave., New York, NY 10281 40.714612 -74.016024
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212-267-9700 Send to Phone

Photo by Tema Stauffer

Official Website



Nearby Subway Stops

2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, Z at Fulton St.; E at World Trade Center; A, C at Chambers St.; 2, 3 at Park Pl.


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Wedged between financial powerhouses and well-manicured parks, the Irish Hunger Memorial serves as a humble reminder that Manhattan's southern tip was once the first glimpse of freedom for many immigrants. Unveiled in 2002, the Battery Parks City Conservancy's project memorializes the Great Potato Famine (1845-52) and ongoing contemporary battles with hunger worldwide. The nucleus of artist Brian Tolle's multi-layered design is an early 19th-century stone cottage from County Mayo, Ireland. The modest home now sits on a raised field at the end of a pathway of thirty-two hefty stones, each marked with the name of the Irish county that donated it. Visitors enter the memorial through a dark granite corridor while voiceovers recount the horrors of Irish Hunger—one million dead; almost twice that many fleeing to the United States. Wall engravings address the destitution of famine victims through excerpts from parliamentary reports, poems, letters and, ironically enough, recipes. From the interior, a concrete path winds up and out to a quarter-acre plot of barren land. (The 1847 Irish Poor Law denied relief to anyone living on larger property.) This small piece of land displays an eerie beauty, with dry grass punctuated by the delicate heather and irises typical of fallow fields.


New quotations will be added to the ones already engraved in the memorial's walls as new hunger crises occur.