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    Skibbereen and Canada to host Famine Memorial events

    By Noreen Bowden | January 8, 2009

    This year’s National Famine Memorial Day will be held on May 17th. The date has been announced by the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Eamon O Cuiv.

    Skibbereen, Co. Cork will be the focal point of this year’s commemoration in Ireland, while there will also be an international event taking place in Toronto. Skibbereen was selected as it was one of the worst affected areas; a mass grave at Abbeystrewery holds between 8,000 and 10,000 famine victims.

    The National Famine Commemoration Committee was established last year, and had decided to hold an annual event, revolving between each of the four provinces. Last year’s event was in Dublin, and in 2010 Mayo will be the focal point.

    The committee will also run a parallel event in Canada; Canada was a landing point for thousands of Irish fleeing starvation. The overseas commemoration reflects the role of the famine in dispersing the Irish people, as the population fell from 8 million in 1841 to half that in the following decades.

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