Heroes of the Famine Project

In 2014, the ‘Heroes of the Great Irish Famine’ project was launched as a resource for those interested in commemorating the Great Irish Famine, alongside the IrishFamine.ie website.

This project aims to provide people of all ages with a different perspective on the Great Irish Famine and capture the interest of those who may not have previously engaged with the National Famine Commemoration programme. It is intended that it will become a valuable information resource for adults and young people alike and will inspire them to learn more about this tragic period in our history. It aims to encourage us all to be mindful of those suffering from hunger and disease in the modern world and to show similar empathy and generosity of spirit to those less fortunate then ourselves.

Members of the public can submit short narratives and any primary resources or illustrations to [email protected]. All submissions will be reviewed before being uploaded to the website. The NFCC has full authority to upload or remove material at its discretion. Contributions are intended as an information resource only and to stimulate discussion and debate and are not necessarily the views of the National Famine Commemoration Committee or the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

Some notable contributors to relief efforts include:

  • On March 23, 1847 the Indians of the Choctaw nation took up a collection of $170 for Irish Famine relief. This was particularly poignant given their own history of enduring deprivation, hunger and death.
  • Abdul Mejid Khan, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, became involved in Famine relief for the Irish, donating one thousand pounds and sending three ships with food supplies to Drogheda.
  • The Jewish community in New York raised hundreds of dollars for famine relief in Ireland.
  • In Philadelphia, African Americans living in Northern Liberties and Kensington appointed a committee to solicit donations for famine relief which was forwarded to leading anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass to distribute when he arrived in Ireland.
  • In 1847, Sir Paul Edmund Strzelecki, a Polish explorer, geologist and philanthropist arrived in Ireland as a volunteer at a time when millions were dying of starvation and disease and helped many children escape starvation.