Irish Hunger Memorial

Project Name

Irish Hunger Memorial


Battery Park City Authority


New York, United States


The Irish Hunger Memorial in New York City, designed by visionary artist Brian Tolle, landscape artist Gail Wittwer-Laird and the 1100 Architect firm, was formally opened and dedicated in July 2002 after construction began in March 2001. Brian Tolles commemorative work depicts an Irish hillside, featuring indigenous Irish vegetation, fallow potato furrows, stone walls and an abandoned famine-era cottage, which was deconstructed and transported from the village of Attymass, Co. Mayo by Irish Natural Stone and reconstructed stone by stone on site in New York. This reconstruction was overseen by Irish Natural Stone.

Due to the nature of the project, Irish Blue Limestone was elected as the primary material for both the plaza and the plinth on which the monument is elevated. Strips of limestone cladding with its characteristic fossils, was chosen from Kilkenny Limestone’s Old Leighlin quarry by Irish Natural Stone comprise the entrance passageway. These are sporadically illuminated with glass bands inscribed with information about the Irish famine and the ongoing problem of Third World famine worldwide. The passageway underneath the monument progresses upwards to reveal the abandoned ruins of the Irish cottage on its impoverished plot of land, “culminating in a hilltop with sweeping views of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.”

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