Irish Famine Commemoration
27th August 2006 @ 1pm
Famine Garden, High Rd., Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.
Many years have passed since the awful tragedy of An Gorta Mór. A famine, which accounts for one of the most horrific periods, in our long history; suffering under the Saxon tyrants. A third of our population [possibly much greater] died slow agonising deaths or were part of the forced exiling of the natives from Erin. Many living out their lives in hardship and misery. The enforced starvation of the Gaelic people had detrimental long-term effects. A nationwide decline in health; over 50% mortality rate of children under five amongst the Irish at home and those in exile in the US, Canada and England. The Gaelic language, culture and heritage was almost obliterated. An unrecoverable loss of half the folklore, music and history of our ancient race.
The psychological effects were even more traumatic. Young girls had witnessed their newly born children die of starvation upon their breasts. Whole families were forced to cuddle themselves together through the dark winters in cruel and damp conditions; raw to the bone with starvation. Where the screams and convulsions symbolised the collapse of their vital organs as they slipped away to death. Tens of thousands lay unburied upon the roads, ditches and in their mud cabins for weeks on end. The people were reduced to begging or were enslaved in work-houses. Evictions saw families lose their entire possessions, reduced to live in ‘Scalps’ [holes dug about 2 feet in the ground and covered over with sticks, turf and brambles]. Disease, Fever, Plague, Malnutrition, along with the harsh military suppression, devastated the spirit of the Gaels, making life almost unbearable; the suffering second nature.
Yet the Gael refused to surrender and give up hope upon life. Fathers and mothers scoured the countryside in search of crumbs for their children. They ate leaves, grass, weeds, along with the smallest scraps of food [often decayed], they could scavenge. Millions vowed never to degrade their ancestral fathers - refused to give up their freedom to be enslaved in the workhouses in return for Saxon soup. Young men who had both courage and strength boldly seized crops and livestock from the planted landlords. Many being imprisoned, exiled and the bravest cruelly murdered. Every town felt the rape that was happening to the nation. Yet it was the rural Gaeltacht regions that saw the greatest and most tragic deaths occur. Whole villages became wasteland, as the stench of rotting crops and decomposed humans released a foul and contagious plague into the air, which was carried through the ghostly winds.
The land was decayed, the people reduced to live in wretched poverty. While simultaneously the Saxon rapists, gloated in their mansions, feasting on amassed wealth gained through criminal and evil actions. The putrid whore Victoria, grew more obese each day, fattening on the extortion and stealth taxes imposed upon the ancient and sacred Gael. [While many years later the Redcoat John Bruton wined and dinned with English monarchy, praising their criminal empire, while trying to denounce and shame those who died under the barbaric and sadistic crimes of English monarchy in Ireland].
In the spirit of nationhood, we have organised this commemoration, so the memory of our fathers and their families are not lost to the colonial projects of England and Europe. We shall commemorate the sad deaths that occurred in this dark period of suffering - inflicted ruthlessly upon the Gael. We shall honour the brave and resilient Irish who became victims to the genocide of English monarchy and their perverse planted landlords. We hope you will also cherish the memory of your ancestors and will support and attend our commemoration as a fitting tribute to their lives and their tragic deaths. Éirinn go Brách.
Organised by Craobh Gal Gréine
Irish Cultural Society