Programme of Events

Friday 3rd May Wednesday 8th May
Saturday 4th May Thursday 9th May
Sunday 5th May Friday 10th May
Monday 6th May Saturday 11th May
Tuesday 7th May Sunday 12th May

Friday 3rd May

  • Official launch of Famine Commemoration Events in Carrigaholt in association with Carrigaholt Oyster & Music Festival at the Square, Carrigaholt.   Performance and oral history from the famine times in Carrigaholt and walk to Carrigaholt Parish Hall  
    Time: 6:00p.m. Place: Carrigaholt.
  • Introductory lecture by Tom Power entitled The role Australia played in the Irish Famine
    Time: 7:00p.m. Venue: Carrigaholt Parish Hall
  • Céilí with music by The Star of Munster  Céilí Band
    Time: 7:00p.m.-9:00p.m. Venue: Market Square, Kilrush


  • The schoolchildren of Doonbeg Parish will commemorate the Great Famine.  A special children's Mass will be celebrated at 1.30pm in Doonbeg Church and the school's Famine Projects will be displayed in Doonbeg Parish Hall.  All are welcome.

Time: 1.30pm Venue: Doonbeg Parish Church


Saturday 4th May

  • Guided walking tour of the Famine Sites in Kilrush with Paddy Waldron and Paul O’Brien of the Kilrush and District Historical Society, commencing at the Market Square, Kilrush.  (This tour will be repeated on Wednesday) 
    Time: 1:00p.m.-3:00p.m. From: Regina House, Cooraclare Rd. Kilrush
  • Lecture by Crístóir Mac Cárthaigh entitled "The effect of the Famine on the Irish language"
  • Time: 3:00p.m. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Kilrush
  • Guided walking tour of Kilkee with Laura Lyons, focusing on the history of Kilkee during the 1800s incorporating Commemoration at Edmond Point
    Time: 3.30p.m. From: Bandstand, Strand Line, Kilkee
  • Famine Exhibition hosted by the Kilimer & Knockerra Historical Group
    Time: 6:00p.m. Venue: Knockerra Hall, Knockerra, Kilrush  
  • Cathaigh Comhaltas Seisiún of Music, Dance and Song at the Market Square, Kilrush
    Time: 6:00p.m.-7:00p.m. Venue: Market Square, Kilrush
  • Music by Socks in the Frying Pan
    Time: 7:00p.m.-9.30p.m. Venue: Market Square, Kilrush

Sunday 5th May

  • Mass at St. Senan’s Church, Kilrush followed by walk to Shanakyle Graveyard for prayer service, wreath laying and minutes silence and performance of “Lone Shanakyle” by Assumpta Kennedy 
    Time: 12 noon Venue: Market Square, Kilrush
  • Great Famine Walk from Kilrush to Cooraclare, by West Clare Kidney Support Group seperate Runner's event commencing same location at 3pm.  Remembrance wreath - laid by the Kilrush Town Mayor.  Famine commemoration medals will be presented to the first 300 finishers.   The distance is approximately 8 km. Refreshments will be served at Tubridy's in Cooraclare from 3.45pm with music and dance. 
    Time: 2.30p.m. Venue: Old Workhouse, Cooraclare Road, Kilrush (Adult Education Centre)
  • Famine Commemoration Event - Clare Roots Society - this ceremony will take place after a short Liturgy of Prayer at the sitge of nameless burials of more than 2000 victims of famine and fever.  
    Time: 3:00p.m. Venue: Old Drumcliffe Cemetery, Ennis
  • Famine Commemoration event
    Time: 3:00p.m. Venue: Pier Head, Killaloe, Co. Clare
  • Performance of ‘We Were Never Beggars’, a one-act play written by Brian Comerford.
    Time: 7:00p.m. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Kilrush
  • Screening of two films set in Irish workhouses.  The films are not suitable for under eighteen year olds. 
    Time: 8:00p.m. Venue: Venue: Cultúrlann Sweeney, Kilkee

A Room in Air was filmed in the auxiliary workhouse in Ballyvaughan in 2012 and directed by Frank Golden. This short film attempts to explore, in a symbolic manner, the way in which the Famine proved to be a psychic and emotional fault line for Ireland and its people. Running time: 22 minutes.

Poorhouse was filmed in the workhouse at Bawnboy in 1995, and aired on RTE in 1996. Based on a short story by Michael Harding and directed by Frank Stapleton, Poorhouse follows the course of an old man’s relationship with a young woman, Anna Magee, who is brought to the workhouse when she is taken ill with fever. It stars Birdy Sweeney and Dearbhla Crotty. Running time: 30 minutes. 

Monday 6th May

  • Remembrance Ceremony and wreath laying at Famine Mass Grave, with Fr Michael Casey and Fr Patrick Culligan. 
    Time: 11.30a.m. Place: Moyarta Graveyard, Carrigaholt
  • 13km walk in memory of the 41 people drowned in the ferry disaster at Cammoge Point on 12th December 1849 after they were refused admission to Kilrush Workhouse. This walk will re-enact the daily journey taken by the people of West Clare to Kilrush Workhouse, going through Moyarta, Kilcrona, Lisheencrony, Doonaha, Querrin, Shanganah, Newtown East and Clarefield to Cammoge Point 
    Time: 12 noon-2.30p.m. From: Moyarta Graveyard to Cammogue Point
  • Remembrance Ceremony, welcome address, memorial unveiling and blessing by Fr Michael Casey and a short address by Paddy Nolan 
    Time: 3:00p.m. Venue: Cammogue Ferryboat House
  • Crossing Poulnasherry to Carnacalla in currachs with the West Clare Currach Club (capacity for approximately 30 walkers, others who wish to complete the walk will be taken by bus to Carnacalla to walk from there to Kilrush). Please note: the boat crossing is weather-dependent. 
    Time: 3.30p.m.-4:00p.m. From: Poulnasherry
  • Walk continues from Carnacalla to Kilrush via Leadmore to Pound Street and on up to Old Kilrush Creamery by the Ferry Road arriving at Old Kilrush Creamery at approximately 5.30pm
    Time: 4.30p.m. From: Carnacalla to Kilrush
  • Plaque unveiling and wreath laying followed by blessing and reading at Old Kilrush Creamery, the site of the entrance to the Kilrush Union Workhouse. The bus will be on hand to transport people back to their cars. 
    Time: 5.30p.m.-6:00p.m. Venue: Old Kilrush Creamery
  • Clare Pilgrim Way will walk from  St Martin’s Well to Kilnagalliagh (Cill na gCailleach) burial site of Cammoge Ferry drowning famine victims to join the main group of walkers at Cammoge Point at 2.45 pm. This walk is approximately 3.5km and will take an hour to complete.  Meet at Lisdeen Church to car share. 
    Time: 1:00p.m. From: St. Martin's Well to Kilnagalliagh
  • Guided walking tour with Maura Harvey from Paupers’ Quay to the former site of Kilrush House at Vandeleur Walled Gardens via Cappa Pier, Kilrush. 
    Time: 6:00p.m.-7:00p.m. From: Paupers' Quay
  • Lecture by Dr. Ciarán Ó Murchadha entitled Captain A.E. Kennedy in Kilrush Union 1847-1850
    Time: 8:00p.m. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Kilrush

Tuesday 7th May

  • Soup Kitchen - soup from Famine times will be served by people wearing Irish contemporary dress and a collection will be made for countries currently fighting Famine 
    Time: 11a.m.-2:00p.m.  Venue: Potter's Hand Café, Kilrush.   
  • Bread & Potato Food Demonstration with a focus on the Lumper Potato and other potato varieties from Kilrush Community Garden and Soda Bread by local bakers, Considine's Bakery, Kilrush.  Sharing and tasting and a brief talk about soda bread and potatoes by Paul O'Brien. 
    Time: 4:00p.m. Venue: Buttermarket Café, Kilrush (off the Square on Burton Street)
  • Remembrance ceremony and wreath laying to signify all that emigrated and left during Famine times. 
    Time: 7:00p.m. Venue: Paupers' Quay
  • Grow it yourself - Kilrush talk on vairieties of Potatoes Grown During the Great Famine and information on potato planting, growing, harvesting and disease and potatoes display with Hilary Gleeson and Brid Hedderman. 
    Time 7:00p.m.-9:00p.m. Venue: Kilrush Community Garden, Nagle's Tce., Kilkee Rd., Kilrush.
  • Book Launch: The mass evictions in Kilrush Poor Law Union during the Great Famine by Dr. Matthew Lynch. The launch will followed by a Lecture from the author on the same subject.  Matthew Lynch is a native of Kilmurry Ibrickane and co-editor of the book Clare Hostiry and Society, a set of interdisciplinary essays on the history of Clare.  He has published many articles and is the author of the book Mass evictions in Kilrush Poor Law Union during the Great Famine. 
    Time: 8:00p.m. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Kilrush
  •  Famine themed evening by Kilrush & District Toastmasters
    Time: 8.30p.m. Venue: Haven Arms, Kilrush

 Wednesday 8th May

  • Soup kitchen and Famine Commemoration where soup from Famine times will be available and a collection will be made for countries currently fighting Famine. 
    Time: 2:00p.m. Venue: Regina House Nursing Home
  • Guided Walking Tour - Famine Sites, KIlrush with Paddy Waldron and Paul O'Brien of the Kilrush and District Historical Society. 
    Time: 3:00p.m.-5:00p.m. From: Regina House, Cooraclare Road, Kilrush. 
  • Current Famine in the World: Querrin National School pupils will give a short presentation about their project Famine in Africa to be followed by Dr. Gerard Downes: The Politics of Famine: Supply, Deceit and Deprivatation Gerard Downes is the coordinator of the Master's and Graduate Diploma programmes in International Development Practice at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick.  Donation boxes to be provided. 
    Time: 5.30p.m.-7.30p.m. Venue: Cultúrlann Sweeney, Kilkee
  • Official Launch of Cindy O'Dell's photographic exhibition Messengers of Yesterday.  The event will see a guided commentary bu the artist illustrating her inspiration for the photographic collection.  The collection of images explores the Irish American identity in the historical framework of the famine.  Cindy O'Dell is an Associate Professor of Art at DePauw University, Indiana. 
    Time: 7:00p.m. Venue: The Quay Mills
  • Outing to Ballyhee Cutting Clare Archaeological & Historical Society.  This is the location of the Fergus River which was diverted and a Famine wall constructed as a famine relief work at the end of the Famine. 
    Time: 7:00p.m.  Meet: Templemaley Garveyard, Ballyalla, Ennis
  • Lecture by Michael Nolan Failure of Famine Relief 
    Time: 8p.m. Venue: Cultúrlann Sweeney, Kilkee
  • Lecture by Dr. Gerard Moran Scattering the People: the Great Famine and Irish Emmigration with particular reference to Co. Clare.  
    Time: 8:00p.m. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Kilrush 

Thursday 9th May

  • Bus tour of famine-related sites in Kilrush Poor Law Union, including visits to Cammoge Point, Cill na gCailleach cemetery, Village of Moveen, Kilcasheen, Dunlickey Road (Famine relief scheme), Moyarta cemetery, Village of Tullig, Church of the Little Ark, Judy O'Donnel's Habitation Under the Bridge at Doonbeg, etc.  There will be a stop for lunch at the soup kitchen at Myles Creek in Kilkee.  Tour guides Paddy Waldron and Paul O'Brien of Kilrush & District Historical Society. 
  • There will be two buses provided with a total capacity of 86 seats.  To book a seat on the bus, please phone 087 788 5494 or 087 254 7230.  As of Wednesday lunchtime, there are still a small number of seats available.  Those who do not secure seats on the buses are welcome to follow by car.  We encourage car pooling to avoid traffic congestion as we will be travelling on some narrow country roads.
    Time: 10:00a.m.-7:00p.m.  From: Market Square, Kilrush
  • Soup Kitchen - soup recipes from the Famine will be available and Carmel Madigan will provide a talk about "Foraging on the Sea Shore".  A collection will be made for countries currently fighting Famine 
    Time: 2:00p.m. Venue: Myles Creek, Kilkee
  • Workshop on Immigration during the Famine and Famine Genealogy by Lorna Moloney The Eyes and Ears of the Past 
    Time: 7:00p.m. Venue: Saint Cronan’s Church, Tuamgraney, Co. Clare.
  • Lecture by Dr. Jason King Children of the Famine: Irish Orphan Migration from Clare and Limerick to Canada in 1847. 
    Time: 8:00p.m. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Kilrush.

Friday 10th May

  • Minute of Silence will be observed in all schools (national event)
    Time: 12 noon
  •  Famine re-enactment by students of Labasheeda National School 
    Time: 1.30p.m. Venue: Labasheeda National School
  • Céilí with music by Four Courts Céilí  Band. 
    Time: 7:00p.m.-9:00p.m. Venue: Market Square, Kilrush
  • Special Concert - Soprano Edel O’Brien, baritone Richard Hayes, and the Clare Music Makers will perform. 
    Time: 6:00p.m. Venue: St. Senan’s Church, Kilrush
  • Lecture by Professor Christine Kinealy, Philanthropy during the Great Famine with particular Reference to County Clare. 
    Time: 8:00p.m. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Kilrush
  • Mass at the site of the old Church in Kilfearagh Graveyard  organised by the Friends of Kilfearagh Graveyard Committee followed by unveiling of a memorial for the victims of the Great Famine and all those buried in Kilfearagh Graveyard. 
    Time: 8:00p.m. Venue: Old Church, Kilferagh Garveyard, Kilkee
  • Chapel Gate Cooraclare Wrenboys performance and street theater . 
    Time: 9:00p.m. From: Kilrush Youth Centre, Kilkee Road to Market Square, Kilrush.


  • Moyasta National School will perform a pageant entitled "Famine Memories of Captain Kennedy".  This has been produced by Moyasta National School staff and this will be enacted by the pupils in narration, song and drama.  It tells the story of County Down born Captain Kennedy, Local Government Inspector of Kilrush Poor Law Union during Famine Times.  Parents and the general public are invited to this presentation and this will be followed by music and dance by local traditional musician Alfie Marrinan.

Time: 1:00pm Venue: Moyasta National School

Saturday 11th May

  • 15km Kilkee Famine Commemorative Cliff Walk led by Conradh na Gaeilge, Kilkee, commencing at the Bandstand, Strand Line, Kilkee, via Marine Parade, Dunlickey Road and Cliff Road at Knockroe (Look Out Hill) to Goleen (this road was constructed as part of a Famine Relied Scheme in 1846). At the T junction in Goleen turn left to return to Kilkee via Moveen.  (Not suitable for young children)
    Time: 9.45am From: Bandstand, Strand Line, Kilkee
  • Rededication of Kilrush Churchyard presented by the Kilrush and District Historical Society 
    Time: 1:00p.m. Venue:  Kilrush Churchyard, Grace Street (Gathering event)
  • Family Survival Celebration Day.  The day will include fun family events, open day at the Kilrush Men’s Sheds, who are building traditional curraghs. The curraghs are named after the Cammoge Ferry Disaster victims and will be on display. Followed by a BBQ in association with Kilrush Rugby Club. 
    Time: 2:00p.m.-5:00p.m. Venue: Kilrush Marina
  • International Youth Theatre Drama Workshop will hold a one and a half hour drama workshop on their production Voyage of the Orphans with fun drama activities including a text reading on the Famine and migration, which will be improvised and discussed. This drama workshop is aimed at 11-14 year old children (in 5th, 6th and 1st year classes) and prior booking is essential to attend the workshop with a maximum of twenty participants.  (Prior booking is essential / max. 20 participants)
    Time: 4:00p.m. Venue: Cultúrlann Sweeney, Kilkee
  • Doonbeg Famine Commemoration Walk from Killard to Doonbeg Bridge followed by prayer ceremony, wreath laying and evening Mass and Reception at Community Hall, Doonbeg. 

The Doonbeg Famine Commemoration Committee would like to invite everyone to its commemoration, which will begin at 6.45pm at the top of Killard Hill, as that was the site of a village from which many were evicted at the time of the Famine (1842-52).  Please be advised that parking space on the hill is limited and vehicles should not be left to obstruct the roadway.  The walk will then proceed to the bridge in the village in order to commemorate thsoe who took shelter under its arches when they were evicted.  a plaque will be unveiled at the bridge and a wreath will be laid.  After the conclusion of events at the bridge, a religious service will be held in the parish church at 8.00pm, and will be followed by a brief talk in the Parish Hall.  As this is a community event everyone is welcome.
Time: 6:45p.m. From: Killard to Doonbeg Bridge

  • International Youth Theatre will perform a three act play with a film prologue, the Voyage of the Orphans. This is the poignant true story of the 4,000 Irish famine orphans who were forcibly transported from Irish workhouses to Australia between 1848 and 1850. It was devised by the County Limerick Youth Theatre to help draw parallels between our nation’s experience of migration and the plight of migrants today and is funded by the Youth in Action programme of the European Commission. 
    Time: 6:00p.m. Venue: Cultúrlann Sweeney, Kilkee
  • An Féar Gorta - The Hungry Grass, An extract written and performed by Eleanor Feely, Clare Arts Office. An energetic and deeply moving piece of theatre that evokes one woman’s desperate efforts to find meaning during the horror of the Famine. 
    Time: 7:00p.m.  Venue: Cultúrlann Sweeney, Kilkee
  • Commemorative Mass in Quilty or nearby Kilmurry (weather dependant) followed by the unveiling of a plaque to the memory of the starving poor of the parish of Kilmurry Ibrickane in the Great Famine and their curate Fr. Thomas Moloney. 
    Time: 7:00p.m. Venue: Quilty or Kilmurry
  • Lecture and Reading by evelyn Conlon from her forthcoming novel based on the lives of the Famine orphan girls.  Records on Globe Street.  This novel is due to be launched at the International Famine Commemoration in Sydney, Australia in August 2013. 
    Time: 8:00p.m. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Kilrush
  • Music by “Seisiún na hÓige” live at the Market Square, Kilrush. 
    Time: 6:00p.m.-7:00p.m. Venue: Market Square, Kilrush
  • Music by “Hermitage Green” live in Market Square (Trad/Folk) 
    Time 7:00p.m.-9:00p.m. Venue: Market Square, Kilrush
  • Evening Mass at Labasheeda dedicated to Famine victims. 
    Time: 8:00p.m. Venue: Labasheeda

Sunday 12th May

  • Famine Commemoration Mass in the church in Cooraclare village
    Time: 11:00am Venue: Church, Cooraclare Village


  • Famine Folk Mass, Saint Senan’s Church, Kilrush 
    Time: 12 noon Venue: St. Senan's Church, Kilrush
  • Flotilla of Vessels on the Shannon Estuary symbolic of emigration during the Famine including boats from the West Clare Curragh Club and Celtic Mist. 
    Time: 1:00p.m. Venue: Cappa Pier
  • Main National Commemoration Ceremony
    Time: 2.40p.m.-4.15p.m. Venue: Frances Street, Kilrush      
  • Interpretative Dance Piece by local teenagers, choreographed by Jenny Walsh Bassett
  • Performance of the West Clare Famine song Song written and performed by PJ Murrihy
  • Performance of “Lone Shanakyle” by Assumpta Kennedy
  • Reading by Mayor of Clare and Mayor of Kilrush from the Illustrated London News
  • Reading in Irish Dr. Ciarán Ó Murchadha


The following exhibitions will be on display in Kilrush between May 3rd and May 12th inclusive

  • Kilrush Famine Film played on a loop with subtitles in the window of Lillis Travel building, Market Square, for the duration of the Kilrush Famine Commemoration
  • Artworks Messengers of Yesterday by lens-based artist Cynthia O’Dell  of DePauw University, Indiana at Quay Mills, Frances Street
  • The Famine in Clare (1845-1852) by Rene Franklin, County Archivist at Quay Mills, Frances Street (and at Kilrush Library up to May 2nd)
  • Kilrush in Landlord Times illustrations at Vandeleur Walled Garden; open 10a.m. to 5p.m. daily
  • Pop-up Museum at Joe Whelan’s Museum, Cooraclare Road, Kilrush, adjacent to the Workhouse wall. Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00p.m. to 4:00p.m. and at other times by appointment

Famine themed window displays on commercial premises in Kilrush between May 3rd and May 12th inclusive.

Grow It Yourself, Kilrush are growing the Lumper Potato in Kilrush Community Garden, Nagle's Terrace, Kilkee Road, Kilrush and will host education events for the public and with the local school. Featuring displays on the potato and the history and cultivation of potato varieties that were grown during the Famine. The lumper potato was planted using the lazy bed planting method. The results will be revealed during the week of the Famine Commemoration.

Schools Arts Programme – There is a programme of workshops in West Clare schools where school children have worked with professional artists to depict famine scenes through creative media.

Please note that the items listed in this programme are subject to change, please keep up to date with events by checking this site and Famine Commemoration Kilrush 2013 facebook page.

Acknowledge sponsorship received from the Department of Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht, Kilrush Town Council, Clare Co Council, Kilrush Credit Union, Shannon Foynes Port Authority , L& M Keating Ltd., Saint Gobain Performance Plastics Ltd., ESB Moneypoint & Randal B. Counihan & Associates Ltd.