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The Famine Sculpture

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Address: 1, Hawthorn Terrace | Custom House Quarter, Dublin, Ireland
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Recommended length of visit: <1 hour

'Famine' (1997) was commissioned by Norma Smurfit and presented to the City...

'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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 1,615 reviews
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    Very good
  • 64
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  • 5
Chilling but well worth it

Go to a museum or Kilmainham Gaol first so you can hear about the famine and how i impacted the Irish. Then go and see the sculpture near the river bank. It's chilling but it's... read more

Reviewed today
Aleksandar N
Sofia, Bulgaria
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1,615 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,237: English reviews
Sofia, Bulgaria
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviewed today NEW

Go to a museum or Kilmainham Gaol first so you can hear about the famine and how i impacted the Irish. Then go and see the sculpture near the river bank. It's chilling but it's there for a reason and you will appreciate it!

Thank Aleksandar N
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
1,050 reviews
333 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 516 helpful votes
Reviewed yesterday NEW

Close to other great sights, the ship and Emigration Museum, and Customs house up the road. A little knowledge of the Famine is required.

Thank f2s
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Right on the Liffey, north side. Not necessarily a destination, but worth stopping if you are in the area. It's central

Thank TCF1999
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

group of sculptures which is very difficult to not see while passing by the river not far from custom house

Thank M N
Roanoke, Virginia
Level Contributor
29 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

These are supposed to be lifelike and realistic depictions of what Irish people looked like during the potato famine. They definitely looked miserable and unhappy. These statues represent people that went to the docks looking to leave Ireland anyway possible. We saw them on a tour bus and I thought that was sufficient. I may have been more moved seeing... More 

Thank Brooke13Aster
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

While walking along through Dublin take time to stop and take in these and other sculptures. They are a reflection of our history and worth looking at the detailed work involved in their construction. These and other pieces are lovely street art around our city.

Thank 2Ducksseimming
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
48 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

A few statues of decrepit looking people to mark the famine. If you're down this way have a look maybe (There's lots of great places to eat in the CHQ building next door)

Thank Andrew B
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

These famine sculptures were extraordinary. Walking among these figures, one can easily sense the pain and suffering these people experienced. Those real Irish who boarded the immigrant ships here are the ancestors of many Americans.

Thank Mike R
Level Contributor
25 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 1 week ago

These are worth seeing as you walk around Dublin near the river just a small token to remember how people suffered.

Thank Julie M
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

Good place to capture some funny pictures, to make your trip memorable filled with fun. Those sculpture are not for fun though it shows that hardships that people faced during FAMINE

Thank Venkat1727

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