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Great Famine Memorial
Treasures of Ireland:
Remembering the Great Famine
(Dispatch #12)

Story and photos by Tom Weber

ny travel writer worth his or her salt cannot come to Ireland and limit their reporting to just the "usual suspects" of foamy pints of Guinness, Dublin's Temple Bar, the postcard-perfect scenery in various shades of verdant green, the iconic locales and The Quiet Man film locations. No, to document the Emerald Isle correctly you've got to, unfortunately, sprinkle a bit of sadness over the narrative.

The Great Famine Memorial at Ennistymon, County Clare

About an hour out of Limerick along the N67, Eugene, our expert pilot, brings the motor coach to a full stop at a lay-by just outside of Ennistymon on the way to Lahinch in Co. Clare. The "band of [not-so] merry media," 18 travel writers and photographers invited by Insight Vacations to sample a portion of its Treasures of Ireland journey, disembark and walk solemnly into Ireland's tragic past: An Gorta Mor (The Great Famine).

closeup of The Great Famine Memorial

The very first monument erected in Ireland to memorialize the approximately 1 million victims of the island's great potato crop failure, who either died of starvation or disease-related causes between 1845 to 1852, and which also forced an additional 1 million Irishmen to emigrate to faraway shores, The Great Famine Memorial was dedicated on August 20, 1995, marking the 150th anniversary of the tragedy that changed the Emerald Isle forever.

Located across the field from Ennistymon Hospital, itself built on the grounds of a local 19th century workhouse, the memorial was designed by Allan F. Ryan Halls, an artist from Co. Kerry. The sculpture, on one side, depicts a child standing before the workhouse door, while across from that is the head of an anguished mother and two hands clenched in frustration above the sorrowful text of a pleading note written on February 25, 1848:

closeup of child and pleading note at the memorial

For this writer, three generations removed from my Irish roots, a brief pause along the side of the road to view this memorial is the very least that I can do to begin to try and understand the pain and suffering my ancestors endured during An Gorta Mor. May they rest in peace.

Insight Vacations brochure

For complete information on Insight's 100+ premium and luxury-escorted journeys around Europe, including the Treasures of Ireland itinerary, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

Related Articles:
Along the Banks of the River Shannon; The Dingle Peninsula; Grazing on The 19th Green; The Ring of Kerry; A Jaunty-Good Ride Through Killarney National Park; Dinner at Killarney




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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

* * * *

Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

* * * *

Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: http://www.compagniadeicammini.it/en/. Thanks for stopping by and commenting..

Tom

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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal



Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum in Vevey, Switzerland

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Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin. A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model Kiera Chaplin.

Go There

Greg Aragon's travel blog/review
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Go There

John Clayton's travel blog/review
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Buckingham Palace exit
Is it more momentous for a Brit to do the Buckingham Palace tour than say an American or indeed any other nationality? Yes, I know that's an odd question, but if you grow up – as I did – in London back in the 1950s, getting inside Buckingham Palace was the stuff of dreams. Hence my surprise at touring BP in 2005.

Ringo Boitano's travel blog/review
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aurora borealis lights up the night sky near Fairbanks
The first thing you notice is the fragrance. The intoxicating perfume of the tiare flower announces to your senses that you are in a magical place, overflowing with tropical vegetation and soothing trade winds. It is the same fragrance that the English seamen on the HMS Bounty also first encountered; but they came, not for flowers, but for breadfruit, intended as a new food staple for their slaves in the West Indies.

Eric Anderson's travel blog/review
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Christmas card
"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" goes the song. Robert Goulet sang it and Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis, too, and it surely comes to mind when you stand on a bluff in the Luberon of Provence and stare across at the little hill village of Gordes. The view is the best part; the village's interior itself is not dramatic and stands as a warning of what contemporary popularity can do to the simple homes of 12th century working people.

go there

Fyllis Hockman's travel blog/review
Exploring Venice: Lost and Found. And Special Finds. Repeat.

Venice street musicians
Walking home to our apartment in Venice, we share a wave through the window with the owner of Baba, our local osteria. Leaving for a day of sightseeing, a cup of my favorite pistachio gelato awaits me despite the early hour. At the Bar Dugole, we relax after a day of sightseeing and order the regular: vodka for my husband and Amaretto for me.

Go There

Richard Carroll's travel blog/review
Boulderís Sunrise

Rosie's Rock at The Boulders

The enormous Sonora Desert, a colossal 120,000 square miles of splendor that spreads like a great tapestry of textures and colors across international boundaries from Arizona into the State of Sonora in northern Mexico is one of North America’s grand, untrammeled natural treasures. The complex, sun-blessed region of bright dry heat, brilliant low-hanging stars, and long, ever-changing shadows that shift with the sun as they drape like endless silhouettes across craggy walls, mountain ridges and hidden canyons, is a vibrant land with tales to tell.

Traveling Guest

Skip Kaltenheuser's travel article
Rat in Mi Kitchen

If the as yet unverified and unsubstantiated report on Russian spies with Trump scandals in their pockets turns out to be even half true, I’ll be gobsmacked. It would be hard to comprehend that when Trump – a global traveler with insights into the underworld and anything-goes weasels like Roy Cohn – was traveling in Russia he didn’t quickly grasp that many hotels, loaded with hookers with mobster supervisors, would have rooms wired for surveillance.

Go There

Jim Friend's travel blog/review
Japan: Bullet Trains, Monkey Shows and Whale Steaks

Nikko Temple gate
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go there

Bev Cohn's travel blog
Film Review: "My Hero Brother" – A Tribute to the Human Spirit

a scene from the documentary 'My Hero Brother'

I just spent five days attending the Santa Barbara Film Festival and for the most part, the features, animated shorts, and documentaries were quite professional and compelling. That said, "My Hero Brother," a documentary that was particularly outstanding, told the remarkable and inspiring story about a group of Down syndrome young men and women who go on a two-week trek through the Himalayas with their non-Down syndrome siblings.

Go There

Tim Mattox's travel article
Crooked Eye Tommy: 'Butterflies and Snakes'

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When you load the CD Butterflies and Snakes into your sound system, you know from the onset Crooked Eye Tommy isn't your run-of-the-mill blues band. The entire recording is based around multiple styles, assorted genres and two lifetimes of influence. From the swamp-like vibe of the opening track through the weeping steel guitar highlighting the finale there's a brand new, old school familiarity that resonates throughout each one of the 11 original songs.

Go There

Deb Roskamp's travel photo blog
La Paz, Baja California Sur

The Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur

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