Posted by: irishhungercomm | March 8, 2011

Why did The Irish wait 150 years?

Monique from France, who is doing a thesis on the Irish Hunger, asked a question. I think it’s a good question so I’m taking it from the comments box and printing it here:

“Why did The Irish wait 150 years to start to commemorate their victims of the Great Famine? Why didn’t they fight for that before? I still wonder why, do you have an idea? What about the 100 anniversary?”

I hope that Monique can get some answers back – just leave yours in the comments box below.



  1. When I started investigating the tragedy for the AOH 150th commemoration I asked the same question. Among the answers I received, the most frequent was that at the 100th anniversary it was too painful for it was still in the memory of those who got it from their parents and grandparents who were embarrassed by it and reluctant to talk about it because they let it happen. They only wanted to put the painful memories behind them. In truth there was nothing they could have done. There was also a good deal of anger that they did not fight back because they were unable to do so. It was a time when many immigrant Irish who had escaped the starvation formed organizations like the Emmet Monument Association and the Fenian Brotherhood aimed at a military recovery of Irish independence. It was only on the 150th anniversary in 1995 that the generation that never knew their great-grandfathers personally, could vent that anger and frustration without fear of consequence. It was a time more terrible than most can imagine watching your children and loved ones die the painful death of starvation and being unable to help. I still cannot dwell too deeply on the things that I have learned without weeping.
    Mike McCormack

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