The Irish Memorial Monument

The Irish Memorial Monument, Philadelphia

The Irish Memorial Monument

The Irish Memorial Monument
4.5
Points of Interest & Landmarks • Monuments & Statues
Read more
Write a review
The area
Address
How to get there
  • 2nd St • 3 min walk
  • 5th St • 8 min walk
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
77 reviews
Excellent
32
Very good
38
Average
7
Poor
0
Terrible
0

podrozniczka60
New Jersey14,393 contributions
This site constitutes to me, arguably, one of the most expressive and striking monuments in Philadelphia. It commemorates the victims of 19th century potato famine in Ireland. The composition is deeply moving and strikes many visitors by surprise.The complex sculpture was created by artist Glenna Goodacre in bronze. It truly speaks for itself without words to anyone even vaguely familiar with the19th century Irish history .
Written January 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

WaJello
1,272 contributions
Family
Walking through Penn’s Landing we discovered this Irish Memorial and a Scottish Memorial. They are beautifully done with much detail. Around these memorials there are a bunch of areas where you can read the story of the Irish famine. It’s quite a but of reading.
Written August 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Liege-Bastogne-Liege
Zurich, Switzerland311 contributions
Solo
I'm Irish, living in London and visiting Philadelphia for just two days, a first visit. And luckily I happened upon this extraordinary monument and little park.

I tell readers this because where I am from and where I live infused my short visit to this place with deep emotion and coloured my opinion, so I must declare my hand.

Several things emerged for me in my hour or so there.

It leaves us in no doubt about the causes of the great hunger, that it was at best ignored by those who were best placed to intervene, that there was enough food in the country to save millions from starvation or emigration but that it was not made available, so strictly speaking it was not a famine, that all famines or tragedies of this kind are effectively man made, that this awful thing could have been mitigated but it was not.

And above all, the stunning sculpture spoke more of hope, resilience, endurance and spirit beyond what words alone can convey. Therefore it is an important place.

The short narratives, written on a series of polished stone plinths, offer us some context for the famine. They are more unequivocal in their explanation than you will hear across the Atlantic.

In the reconciliatory spirit of the age, we Irish tend not to want to offend, and the English for their part, do not wish to remember.

Despite being part of the empire at the time, no-one in authority intervened in a meaningful way. And none of the history of the famine is taught in English schools. It never was. It was a British tragedy every bit as much as it was an Irish one. A rather large inconvenient pile of truth swept right under the carpet.

And oddly, although it never was funny, the potato famine, if it is referred to at all in the U.K. is too often done so jokingly. It happened to me only last week. Again. Almost as if someone missed a meal through their own fault, or because potatoes seem to induce humour. I believe it's never done maliciously. But those folks who make the jokes have never been really hungry.

But remember this: at its height in mid 1847, ten thousand people a week were dying of hunger. Every week. Over sixteen hundred people a day. Every day. The average over the five years is six thousand a week. Eight hundred and fifty people a day dying of hunger every day for five years. It is unconsionable.

I loved how the tone of optimism rose brilliantly as the narrative in the sculpture unfolded. Here is a people who are less running away from than striving to reach.

Reaching something new, willing to offer blood sweat and tears to achieve an equitable relationship with their new adopted home. Give me shelter and I will repay you.

I believe we have kept that promise.
Written May 10, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

DeanMurphy2020
Orlando, FL7,395 contributions
Solo
With a name like Murphy, I had to visit this surprising memorial to Irish immigrants who so influenced culture and innovations in America. The Irish Memorial is erected to commemorate “an Gorta Mór” — meaning Great Hunger of 1845–1850 in the Irish language. This decimating famine caused my forebear Josephus Murphy and a million other Irish citizens to legally immigrate to America through Ellis Island. During that mass immigration, American allowed shop keepers to post signs reading “Irish need not apply,” openly discriminating against my forebears.

Glenna Goodacre is the sculptor who created this bronze monument in 2002. Inscribed are the thought-provoking words: “The hunger ended but never went away.” I had the good fortune to visit Ireland in July 2014, particularly County Cork and Cobh (pronounced Cove), where The Titanic last made port and took on many passengers in steerage class, and where The Lusitania was sunk a few years later.

Take a few moments to reflect upon what it means to be of Irish descent and what the Memorial means. Drinking green beer on Saint Patrick’s Day is not what this Memorial is about. The Irish Memorial Monument is adjacent to the Scottish Memorial, in I-95 Park at Front Street and Sansom Walk, two blocks south of the Market Street Metro station at 2nd Street. A block south of this, across from Hilton at Penn’s Landing and directly over I-95, are the Korea War Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial, also TripAdvisor featured sites.
Written June 12, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MartianJourney
Chicago, Illinois14 contributions
Couples
Between 1845 and 1852, the Great Famine (also known as the Irish Potato Famine) caused the deaths of a million people. Another million Irish emigrated to escape starvation, and by the end of the famine, a quarter of Philadelphia's population was Irish.
The best art tells a story, and this large bronze sculpture by Artist Glenna Goodacre is a moving tribute to those who faced death from hunger, struggled to survive the ocean journey, and then faced nearly insurmountable challenges as impoverished immigrants in a new world.
Located near Penn's Landing, this powerful work of art deserves your attention.
Written December 29, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Urius
Vilnius, Lithuania778 contributions
The sculpture is moving, emotionally gripping and beautiful. It is easily accessible as it is right in the center of Philly. It tells the story of a people who were victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing by the British Empire for centuries came seeking a free life and an honest chance in this nation. They came hungry, battered, yet hopeful and full of liberty and the desire to have their children grow old. For anyone, this statue cuts right to the bone. The faces of the sculpted people tell a million stories. For Irish-Americans whose families survived the genocides and escaped to America, this monument is like a piece of their hearts. It is a memento of all the ancestors and their journeys through pain, repression and starvation. A beautiful sculpture to remind us to never forget what depravity that bigotry and colonial ideologies are capable of unleashing
Written January 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brown_Samantha
Kennewick, WA1,379 contributions
Couples
This was feautured in our travel guide on a 2 hour walk that visited the Korean War and Vietnam War memorials. You can easily combine this with the visit to the beautiful waterfront on a sunny day. It is very lovely.

Afterwards, step in a few blocks and you can find many pubs and taverns, eateries, to rest up your aching feet before moving on to visit the rest of the Old City.
Written May 3, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

627Tai
Philadelphia, PA23 contributions
Solo
I've lived in Philadelphia for a long time and am embarrassed to say that I only recently visited this memorial. It is a poignant and moving memorial and chronicles the causes of the Irish exodus from Ireland to the U.S. during the Great Famine also known as the Irish Potato Famine. I learned a lot about the extent of the English oppression of the Irish. Glad to see recognition of the contributions of Irish immigrants to U.S. society.
Written April 22, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tom M
Suwanee, GA227 contributions
Couples
This was my second visit. I really admire the statue. The imagination using one piece show the agony of those in Ireland, the agony of leaving their homeland, the hope of a better life upon arrival in the US. Ellis Island gets all the publicity but Philadelphia was a major port of arrival for Irish immigrants. There are several marbal placards around the statue telling the story of what happened to make the Irish leave their homeland as a matter of survival. Plan on spending an hour or more if you want to read all the information. It can be difficult to read the marble plaques on a sunny day as they are gray polished granite laser etched in black. When the sun is out the glare from the sun can make them difficult to read. A newspaper or umbrella used the shade the plaques may be helpful while reading them. Having had Irish ancestors who came to the US through Phily, this monument helps make rhe connection a little more personal.

Added bonus, the Scottish immigrant memorial is just 50 yards away and the location of the Tun Tavern is very close as well. Cross on a foot bridge to Penn's landing for several more attractions. This area is a history lovers spot.
Written March 30, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Darlene H
Waukesha, WI1,334 contributions
Friends
A very impressive memorial to the Irish. I’m Scottish, so close enough. Everything is in walking distance so don’t miss this one. You have to be looking to find it.
Written November 25, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Showing results 1-10 of 60
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about The Irish Memorial Monument

We recommend booking The Irish Memorial Monument tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 1 The Irish Memorial Monument tours on Tripadvisor