The West Australian Irish Famine Memorial – Subiaco, Australia - Atlas Obscura

The West Australian Irish Famine Memorial

Subiaco, Australia

A tribute to those who fled the Great Famine and relocated to Australia.  

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The West Australian Irish Famine Memorial (also named An Gorta Mór), is a public sculpture that commemorates the suffering and tragic death of millions of Irish people during the Great Famine from 1845 to 1852. The sculpture was completed in 2017 and unveiled by the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins at a special ceremony in October 2017. This memorial was designed and constructed by Charles Smith and Joan Walsh-Smith, a husband and wife who built a reputation for their iconic public artworks which have been commissioned in many countries across the world. 

The work is around 26 feet (8 meters) in diameter and is constructed of a combination of bronze and granite. It takes the form of a Celtic double spiral pattern, which is said to represent a walked labyrinth of the connected cultures of Australia and Ireland. In the middle of the spiral sits an interpretation of Uaigneas which depicts a childless mother who has lost her children through starvation. 

The Great Famine saw mass emigration from Ireland due to food shortages and political instability, and it is thought that over a million people left their homes with some moving as far as Australia. This poignant memorial pays tribute to the lives lost and the struggles many faced during these times.  

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February 10, 2023

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