Famine and Art in Skibbereen

Woke up today to pouring down rain so decided to go to the Skibbereen Heritage Center which was right across from our hotel. We weren’t the only ones with that idea so the Center was a little crowded. However, the Famine Exhibit was excellent and we spent several hours learning about those very dark days in Irish History.

Poverty was rampant and when the potato blight struck it was devastating. We learned that family after family succumbed to starvation and it was unnecessary. There was food and plenty of it. Most of it was shipped out of the country and very little of the food was shared with the Irish. People didn’t have to die. A very sobering revelation of man’s inhumanity to his fellow men.

After the Heritage Center we went down to the Main Street and a shop keeper told us to go to the Art Museum which also had a Famine Exhibit. We got there in time to join a tour headed by one of the curators of the exhibit.

It was terrific and moving and incorporated multiple art disciplines in the display.

The depiction of this famine ship by a gifted sculptor conveys the desolation and hopelessness victims must have felt as they left their homeland.

It gives one pause.

Was it just coincidence that we saw a rainbow as we returned to our hotel at the end of this day? Maybe it was to remind us that hope is present even in the direst of circumstances. Hope that brought thousands to a new life and hope that brings them back to Ireland.

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