15 January 2021
Famine Memorial

The Famine Garden,                                                                            

I sat in the garden remembering
All of those, long passed away
All the little small babes with white faces,
No milk to keep hunger pains at bay.

The baptismal font still there
How many heads were blessed
That within days had passed from this world
Leaving starving mothers more distressed

As swallows twitter and swoop overhead     
Impossible to count
They bring to mind thousands of folk
Who in far off lands hat to dismount

From deadly coffin ships, where the weaker people died
No pity on remorse from rich landlords
Who past the dying did side

How soon we all forget the despair
That rippled across this land
When the blossoming potatoes died away
The people too weak to stand

While well fed landowners sold corn and collected rent
And if it wasn’t forthcoming
Threw folk out or to jail they were sent

So in this on place that remembers           
The famine – 1845
Let us pray for our last souls
Let us keep our history alive

By Roseanna Tyrrell

Official opening of Famine Memorial Garden at Arden Road, Tullamore was on Monday the 19th February.
The Offaly Famine Commemoration Committee opened officially to the public a Memorial Garden dedicated to the memory of those who died locally during the terrible famine of the nineteenth century, particularly the blackest year of 1847 – one hundred and sixty years ago.
The Memorial is located on the site of the old Tullamore Workhouse where so many starving and destitute were forced to seek refuge during that nightmare period.
It is tastefully designed with the assistance of the architects who designed and supervised the construction of the extension to Riada House. Centrepiece is the Baptismal font retrieved from the workhouse chapel at the time of demolition. Carved from a single piece of local limestone, induces visions of the many babies receiving the water of Baptism and whose life span was decided by the prevailing hunger. The Commemorative scripts are cast in metal and reflect not only the horrors of famines of the past but also those famines that are still parts of the world even today.