Ceremony to Mark 10th Anniversary of Memorial to Irish Famine

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Ceremony to Mark 10th Anniversary of Memorial to Irish Famine

June 20, 2011 - 22:04

On the 10th anniversary of the dedication of the Westchester Great Hunger Memorial, County Executive Robert P. Astorino and James Houlihan, who led efforts to create the monument, will lay a wreath at the Irvington site to commemorate the occasion, as well as to focus attention on the issues of hunger past and present.

Astorino and Houlihan will be joined by dignitaries and other officials for the ceremony on Tuesday, June 21 at 11 a.m., at the Great Hunger Memorial Park in Irvington.

The bronze sculpture, created by Dublin artist Eamonn O'Doherty, is a permanent reminder of the 1840s Irish famine known as the Great Hunger.

“The memorial to the tragedy in which one million people died has become a cherished destination for quiet reflection and inspiration for the people Westchester,” Astorino said. “We thank Jim Houlihan and the many people he brought together to make this memorial a reality, and to educate park visitors about this dreadful event that we should never forget.”

Houlihan, a partner in Houlihan Parnes Realtors LLC, said, “Irish sculptor Eamonn O'Doherty designed an elegant memorial that was recognized as a great work of public art by the New York Times and also won architectural awards. The memorial is a culmination of a group effort by many in the Westchester community who cooperated and worked as a team to bring the memorial to fruition."

In 2001 the Great Hunger Memorial Committee, founded by Houlihan and since disbanded, raised nearly $800,000 in state, county and private funds needed to erect the memorial. In addition to the park site, Westchester County contributed $50,000 toward the monument and the state contributed another $50,000 with the rest coming from private donations.

The memorial comprises five statues, the tallest reaching 9 feet, depicting an Irish family walking away from two pyramid-shaped fieldstone walls representing the ruins of their home.

Great Hunger Memorial Park (formerly known as Woodlands Lake) is accessible via the northbound Saw Mill River Parkway, exit 19, approximately ½ mile north of Ardsley.