Dedicated Saturday, November 17, 2007
Between 1845 and 1851, the population of Ireland was devastated by a terrible potato famine. Historians estimate that as a result of the tardy and inadequate British government response to the "great hunger," one million or more Irish men, women and children died. One and one-half million more Irish emigrated to the United States and other countries. This tragic and profoundly important event in the history of Ireland and the world should be remembered and better understood by this present and all future generations.
The Rhode Island Irish Famine Memorial Committee is a nonprofit organization. Our specific purpose is to provide Rhode Islanders with a deeper understanding of the effects of the "Great Famine," both on Ireland and on the thousands of emigrants who eventually came to this state.
The committee raised funds to erect a permanent memorial that is now a tribute to the famine's numerous victims and celebrates the outstanding contributions of their descendants to Rhode Island.
This memorial has been prominently located along the restored Providence River waterfront at River Walk. The committee has also sponsored and will continue to offer a series of substantive historical presentations relating to the famine.
By publicizing and memorializing "the famine" and its consequences, we hope that our fellow Rhode Islanders from many different national backgrounds will be moved to reflect upon the universal lessons of history and to act, when need be, to avert similar human calamities in the future.