Catherine Martin TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, and Chair of the National Famine Commemoration Committee has announced that this year’s National Famine Commemoration will take place on Sunday 21st May 2023 in Milford, Co. Donegal.
This is the third time the State Commemoration has taken place in Ulster. The public ceremony, which will be broadcast on the RTÉ News Now channel, will provide an opportunity for the people of Donegal to honour the suffering and loss of the Great Famine and to remember those who fled to create new lives abroad. It will feature National flag and military honours before culminating in a solemn wreath-laying ceremony.
Schools around the country will be invited to hold a minute of silent reflection on Friday 19th May in memory of those who perished during the Great Famine, while sporting organisations will be invited to observe a minute of silent reflection at sporting and public events taking place on the weekend of the Commemoration.
Speaking about the event, Minister Martin said, “the National Famine Commemoration is a special opportunity for the current generation to acknowledge the suffering, death, and anguish borne by the Irish people during that darkest time of our history. The choice of Donegal as host for the 2023 National Famine Commemoration is particularly welcome given the deferral of the hosting of the 2020 event in Donegal due to the pandemic. It is appropriate that the event will take place on the old site of the Milford workhouse, given the adversity endured by the people of Donegal in the face of poverty, hunger and emigration throughout the Great Famine and the 19th century. The Commemoration will reflect on this momentous event in Irish history and remember all those who suffered as a result of An Gorta Mór.”
Minister Martin also expressed her appreciation for the work of the members of the National Famine Commemoration Committee for their commitment in ensuring both that the events and impacts of the Great Famine are fittingly remembered, and that the survival and flourishing of those who emigrated, and of their many descendants abroad, are justly celebrated.
The Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Liam Blaney said, “we are honoured that Donegal will have the opportunity to host the National Famine Commemoration ceremony in 2023. We look forward to working closely with the Minister’s Department and encouraging the active participation of our local community. Together we will ensure a fitting commemoration on this catastrophic time in Irish history.”