Irish Hunger Memorial in NYC reopens after €4.5m renovation

Cost of remedial works exceed the original build cost of the monument

The Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park, New York, which has reopened after a 12-month renovation. Photographs: Peter Aaron, courtesy of 1100 Architect.

The Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park, New York, which has reopened after a 12-month renovation. Photographs: Peter Aaron, courtesy of 1100 Architect.

 

The Irish Hunger Memorial in New York has reopened to the public after a 12-month renovation and remedial work project running to $5.3 million (€4.5 million) – more than its original build cost.

The monument, which sits on half a an acre of Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, underwent extensive rebuilding to address damage caused by water infiltration. Earlier repairs were found not to have been effective.

Intended to raise awareness of events that led to the Great Irish Famine, and world hunger, the memorial sits facing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It was officially opened by President Mary McAleese in 2002.

The Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park, New York, which has reopened after a 12-month renovation. Photographs: Peter Aaron, courtesy of 1100 Architect.
The Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park, New York features a Famine-era stone cottage that originally stood in Co Mayo

The installation, designed by sculptor and public artist Brian Tolle, includes as its centrepiece an 1820s stone cottage, transported from Ireland and donated to the memorial by the artist’s extended family, the Slacks of Attymass, Co Mayo.

Stones from Ireland’s 32 counties are used in the hard landscaping of the memorial, and the planting features native Irish flora. Visitors can follow paths leading from the cottage to a viewing point on a limestone plinth 25ft above ground.

“The Irish Hunger Memorial was first dedicated 15 years ago this month; today it re-opens to stand for coming generations as a place of reflection and remembrance. And just as America has long welcomed immigrants from Ireland and beyond, we’re pleased to once again welcome Battery Park City visitors to experience this poignant tribute to the unbreakable human spirit,” Shari C. Hyman, president of Battery Park City Authority, said at the relaunch.

A pathway inside the Irish Famine Memorial in New York
A pathway inside the Irish Famine Memorial in New York

The memorial is open from 6am to 1am, daily. There is a self-guided tour available via an app which can be to downloaded here.

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