County Mayo

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Image - Photo © N Chadwick (cc-by-sa/2.0)
Image - Photo © N Chadwick (cc-by-sa/2.0)

The Famine Memorial at Murrisk, just outside the town of Westport in Co. Mayo and at the foot of Croagh Patrick is a memorial to those that died in the famine between 1845 and 1849.

The bronze monument was designed by Dublin artist John Behan and shows a “coffin ship”.  The rigging is made from skeletons, the 'souls of the dead', reminding us of all that died.  A coffin ship was the term given to the boats that carried those trying to escape the terrible famine in Ireland at the time but most of the passengers died as a result of poor access to food and water and the boats becoming disease-ridden. The monument was unveiled on July 20th, 1997 by President Mary Robinson.  You can see a video of the unveiling here:

Directly across the road is the holy mountain of St. Patrick, Croagh Patrick, known locally as 'The Reek'. Close to the car park of the mountain is a visitor centre and is well worthwhile visiting.  The view from the short stroll up to the visitor centre is breathtaking.  It overlooks Clew Bay and it is said that the bay holds 365 islands in its waters.


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