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03 Oct 2022

IN PICTURES: Laois village memorial unveiled where famine soup was served

The site of a famine soup kitchen in a Laois village has been memorialised by the local community, 175 years on from the Great Famine of Ireland.

A commemorative plaque has been unveiled in Errill village in Laois, as part of Laois Heritage Week 2022. 

John Kinahan, descendent of Sadie Kinahan unveiled the An Gorta Mór plaque. Professor William Smith unveiled the memorial seat. 

On the same evening, a commemorative limestone seat was also unveiled, by Errill Tidy Towns. 

The seat is inscribed with this message: 'rest here and remember all those from this locality who perished during the Great Hunger. 1845 - 1852'

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The event took place at the village green on Wednesday evening, August 17.

It was attended by a big group of local people as well as Laois County Council CEO John Mulholland, Laois Heritage Officer Catherine Casey, Directors of Services Angela McEvoy and Donal Brennan, Cllr John King, Trevor Stanley manager of the Donaghmore Famine Workhouse Museum, and descendents of Sadie Kinahan.

A famine soup pot kindly donated by a local family was on view on the evening, a poignant physical reminder of the famine. It is planned to put the pot on permanent display.

A research project on the history and impact of the famine on the Errill area is also being undertaken by Aisling O’Dea, Fiona O’Dea, Michelle Bourke, Jenny Galbraith and Cathy Galbraith as part of the Laois Volunteering Scheme - Local History Research Project 2020. It is also hoped to have an information board of this research eventually erected at the site.

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