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“oddly moving” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Famine Sculpture

The Famine Sculpture
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Dublin Liffey River Cruise
Ranked #24 of 498 things to do in Dublin
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: 'Famine' (1997) was commissioned by Norma Smurfit and presented to the City of Dublin in 1997. The sculpture is a commemorative work dedicated to those Irish people forced to emigrate during the 19th century Irish Famine. The bronze sculptures were designed and crafted by Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie and are located on Custom House Quay in Dublin's Docklands. This location is a particularly appropriate and historic as one of the first voyages of the Famine period was on the 'Perserverance' which sailed from Custom House Quay on St. Patrick's Day 1846. Captain William Scott, a native of the Shetland Isles, was a veteran of the Atlantic crossing, gave up his office job in New Brunswick to take the 'Perserverance' out of Dublin. He was 74 years old. The Steerage fare on the ship was £3 and 210 passengers made the historical journey. They landed in New York on the 18th May 1846. All passengers and crew survived the journey. In June 2007, a second series of famine sculptures by Rowan Gillespie, was unveiled by President Mary McAleese on the quayside in Toronto's Ireland Park to remember the arrival of these refugees in Canada. The World Poverty Stone The World Poverty Stone is a commemorative stone marking the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of World Poverty. It is sited to the east of the Famine Sculptures on Custom House Quay in the heart of Dublin's Docklands. This limestone memorial was commissioned as a gesture of solidarity with people living in poverty around the world. On the 17th of October 1987, in response to the call of Joseph Wresinski - founder of the International Movement ATD Fourth World - 100,000 defenders of human rights gathered in Paris to honour the victims of hunger, violence and ignorance, to express their refusal of extreme poverty and to call on people from all walks of life to unite to ensure respect for human rights. A commemorative stone proclaiming this message was inaugurated on this occasion on the Plaza of Human Rights and Liberties - where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948. Since then, on the 17th of October each year, people from all walks of life, gather throughout the world to express their solidarity and commitment to ensure that everyone's dignity and freedom are respected. On 22nd of December 1992, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 17th October the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. There are now over 30 replicas of the original stone now located around the world. These sites have become places of honour for people living in poverty in the world, places where people gather to reject the inevitability of poverty and social exclusion and places of friendship and solidarity where people from all backgrounds can gather together. Around the world, annual commemoration take place at the site of the stones to mark the 17th October UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The artist - Stuart McGrath, based in Co. Wicklow, is a master craftsman; his training is in sculpture, architectural and classical stone carving. All of his stonecutting is done by hand using traditional methods.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Stairs / elevator, Lockers / storage, Stroller parking
Dorset, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
54 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“oddly moving”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 18, 2013

A famine sculpture ought to be moving but what makes this oddly so is the elongated figures.They look like the worst sort of art for art's sake but the elongation give the figures a gaunt, emaciated effect which hits home.Lifesize figures may not have had the same effect.The spacing between them is highly effective, giving the sense of the figures plodding to the quay for a new life.
By the way , complete the experience with a trip to the Jeannie johnson boat nearby for a very good explanation of the circumstances in which emigrants travelled to canada and the US

Visited March 2013
Thank laygatelad2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Leinster, Ireland
Level Contributor
60 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 15, 2013

The word poignant sums up this monument to the Great Famine of Ireland in the 1840s. The Sculpture consists of about 6 or 7 gaunt starving and desperate life sized figures struggling to make it alive to the ship that waits to transport them to Canada away from the horrors of starvation at home in Ireland.

The artist, Rownan Gillespie really captures the desperation of the wretched souls barely clinging to life. He made two more matching parts to the piece, which are across the Atlantic in Toronto, Canada. These pieces balance the one on Dublin Docks one is of a pregnant woman and a jubilant man, both who have survived the journey as a symbol of life and hope to an otherwise desperate situation.

The Sculpture is worth visiting the experience is not a positive one but it is not meant to be. It invites the viewer to reflect on probably the worst episode in Irish history and to think of all those that perished in similar situations world wide.

Visited February 2013
Thank Mialorgil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
31 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Does exactly what public sculpture should do”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 6, 2013

Rowan Gillespie's Famine sculpture, located near the Custom House, is one of the country's most emotive pieces of public art

Visited March 2013
Thank Ann M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Budapest, Hungary
Level Contributor
79 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Very touching”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 5, 2013

We took a long walk to find this memorial. Its very touching as you see the sculptures and think what those thousands of people went through! This time a lot of people went to the "new world" to America. They took their small baggage and as a last hope to survive they moved into the unknown in the hope to have a better life there!

Worth a walk and remembrance in 5 minute silence in our loud rushing world...

Visited September 2012
Thank venom_six
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Irlanda
Level Contributor
47 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 28, 2013

Is a sensitive and beautiful art. Great famine was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration between 1845 and 1852 in Ireland.

Visited November 2012
Thank GeorgiaDalRi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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