The Famine Diaspora. What became of them? Many who went to the United States of America fought on both sides of the American Civil War. Many suffered terrible wounds. Many died. In the USA Civil War veterans are remembered with pride and all things Civil War have enormous tourist potential. Isn’t it time that we Irish acknowledge the contribution our starving ancestors made to the formation of America? Isn’t it time that we Irish acknowledge the tourism potential in having memorials to this part of our very proud history? For an academic ‘take’ on it, read Damian’s recent blog post above.
Irish in the American Civil War
The Great Famine is an event seared into Irish national memory. Although the victims of the Great Hunger are rightfully remembered and commemorated, as is the physical fact that vast numbers of people were forced to leave, Ireland today largely leaves the memory of these emigrants at the dock, as they boarded ships to a new life far from home. Preserving the memory and experiences of emigrants once they arrived in their new countries has for the most part been left to their own descendants, despite the broader pride that Ireland takes in her global diaspora.
Perhaps the most stark example of this is the way Ireland views the American Civil War. At the commencement of that conflict 1.6 million Irish-born people lived in the United States, the vast majority having arrived as a direct consequence of the Famine. In New York City, which in 1860 had a population of 793,186, a…
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Every working day I travel the N21 passing by the village of Croagh, County Limerick. In recent months I have been intrigued by a very handsome solitary capped figure sitting on a bench on a side road just off the main road. Very realistic, it took a few days for me to realize that Croagh Man is not real!
Imagine my astonishment last week to find that he was kitted out in black tie, dress shirt and had a bride by his side! No ordinary woman this – this is a genuine authentic dumb blonde with straw hair!
Croagh Man and Croagh Bride
Today I was equally astonished to find that Bride of Croagh Man had vanished!
The creator/artist happened along on his ride-on mower – this was Tom who had created Croagh Man and who mows the grass and verges in Croagh for ‘something to do ‘ in his retirement. The bride was placed in celebration of a local wedding that took place between neighbours in recent days. Now alone again, Croagh Man, comfortably back in his working clothes, was undergoing repairs to cover a gash in his thigh (it is to be hoped that the new bride did not inflict this injury in an attempt to defend herself from unwanted advances!)
Croagh Man- Alone again
Tom is doing great community work in is spare time and has provided visual enjoyment for the likes of me who whizz by a couple of times a day on otherwise mundane days! Thanks Tom! Thanks for the smiles! (he did not give his surname!)
For non-Irish – a bit of ‘craic’ – pronounced ‘crack’ = a bit of fun – totally drug-free!
Croagh is pronounced CROKE
If anyone knows who Tom is – perhaps they might draw his attention to this blog post 🙂