Irish Hunger Memorial, New York City

#24 of 118 in Historic Sites in New York City
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The Irish Hunger Memorial is a 0.5-acre (0.20 ha) park at the corner of Vesey Street and North End Avenue in the Battery Park City neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City — dedicated to raising awareness of the Great Irish Hunger, referred to as An Gorta Mór in Irish, in which over one million starved to death between 1845 and 1852 as a result of British policies that prioritized the exportation of profitable foods as most of the potato crop was wiped out by a fungus like organism called Phytophthora infestans (or P. infestans).
Construction of the memorial began in March 2001, and despite the September 11 attacks on the nearby World Trade Center, which also affected surrounding areas, the memorial was completed and dedicated on July 16, 2002.
The memorial, designed collaboratively by artist Brian Tolle, landscape architect Gail Wittwer-Laird, and architecture firm 1100 Architect, is landscaped with stones, soil, and native vegetation transported from the western coast of Ireland — with stones from every Irish county.

An authentic Irish cottage from 19th century Carradoogan, in the parish of Attymass, County Mayo, belonged to the Slack family — and was deserted in the 1960s. The Slack family donated the cottage to the memorial in "memory of all the Slack family members of previous generations who emigrated to America and fared well there."
In August 2016, the memorial was temporarily closed for waterproofing work and was reopened in August 2017.
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231 reviews
  • For those who have Ireland in their blood and who care about the disadvantaged, the Irish Hunger Memorial is worth a stop if you are near Ground Zero, the Freedom Tower, or closing a billion deal...  more »
  • How did they survive? Having traveled in Ireland, I know that my ancestors thought that they would escape deprivation. If you have an Irish ancestor, this is a must-see place in NYC to visit.  more »
  • I thought there would be a restroom inside, but no luck. What I had luck with is to find a very nice memorial. You enter the space with short story writings on walls and then get onto a garden roof to do a short hike. I wish there was an open lawn to sit, some benches, and a looped path (now after 1 minute of climbing up you need to turn back)
  • This hidden gem is a short walk from Ground Zero and well worth coming over to see. A beautiful green oasis in the concrete jungle with some interesting history behind it. Just a short walk down the block from a piece of the Berlin Wall as well.

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