Posted by: irishhungercomm | June 21, 2011

Facebook: Irish National Famine Memorial Day

From Terrance O’Dwyer

Subj:   An Gorta Mor
Date:  Thu May 5, 2011

Some of you may know about my group on Facebook – Irish National Famine Memorial Day.  My hope is we will have over 2000 members within the next few days and I am writing to you to encourage you to take advantage of this group by inviting them to join your groups; or, be added to your mailing lists. Hopefully, your groups will see some new members. Also, please pass along this invite to allied groups

By the way, on Facebook, I am still Turlach Seán Ó Duibhir – I was asked to use the Irish form of my name for Irish name week and have not taken the time to revert.

Regards/ Le gach deá ghuí/ Saludos

Terrance O’Dwyer



  1. Dear Minister,

    That we Irish have a way with words–
    No serious person would ever gainsay.
    It’s the legacy of our native language,
    Expressing our wonder and warmth, and rage and dismay .

    Take some time to look at our history.
    We’re a small nation that’s rightfully proud.
    And as you note our tragedies and accomplishments,
    Your inner voice will seem quite loud:

    “The Irish are not native English speakers.
    They are the not servants of English Whitehall–
    They who imposed their language upon us
    In the hope of getting rid of us all.

    So wasn’t Whitehall truly astonished,
    As many migrated to Canada and the States
    Becoming not just cops and teachers, lawyers and firemen;
    For more than a few became head of state.

    And wasn’t Whitehall also astonished
    By Shaw, Heaney, Beckett and Yeats
    Four Nobel Laureates born in Ireland:
    A compelling case that Ireland is great.

    So permit me this: just one little query.
    Why do you use the ‘Famine’ word,
    To describe a decade of unnecessary horrors
    Of poor men starving amid exported food?

    Surely ye can create a much better label.
    One that describes torment and despair;
    One that describes indifference so brutal
    That to call it hateful seems not unfair.

    The Irish world then calls upon you
    To change the name of these terrible days;
    For Famine fails to depict the reality
    Of a starving people seeing food shipped away.

    Nor does Famine suggest the Great Emigration
    That scattered the Irish all over the earth.
    Nor the thousands that died in wretched old vessels
    With no prayers, no rituals, no sprinkles of dirt.

    The task before you is very simple.
    Yet, the task before you is also profound.
    Replace the wreched old Famine label,
    Perhaps An t-Ocras Mór has the right sound.

    Whatever you choose, let it be as Gaeilge,
    Spoken by them that suffered and died;
    For if someone learns just these three words of Irish,
    The memory of the victims in mind will reside.

    —T S Ó Duibhir
    28 September 2015

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