“Sharing the Past: Exploring the Local Impact of Ireland’s Great Famine on all the People of Ulster”.
The cataclysm of Ireland's Great Famine (An Gorta Mor) not only had a devastating impact on lives of people in the South and West of Ireland but also on Catholics and Protestants alike throughout the entire Province of Ulster during the years 1846-1851 and after. Shedding much needed light on this largely neglected reality is a core objective of the Sharing the Past: Exploring the Local Impact of Ireland’s Great Famine on all the People of Ulster project.
Dr. Francis Costello, a Belfast based historian on Modern Ireland (also the holder of an M.A. in History from NYU 1979), will speak about his work with the Belfast based Charity Building Communities in this unique effort at Glucksman Ireland House in November. Since 2014 this unique, community-driven project has helped to develop a wider, fact-based understanding on the impact of Ireland’s “Great Hunger/An Gorta Mor” on both the Catholic and Protestant communities throughout the entire Province of Ulster in terms of death, sickness and emigration as well as societal trauma during the years 1846-1852 and after that affected all of Ireland. The project works closely with ordinary men and women and local history groups in several Belfast communities as well as the city of Larne and is expanding its work to Derry and White Abbey.
A key purpose of this project is to work with people of all ages to support them in examining the impact of the Great Famine in their own communities It also includes exploring internal migration into communities like Belfast, Derry and Larne seeking an escape from hunger as well as the impact of typhus and cholera on these areas as well as the large scale emigration to North America, England Scotland and Wales that drove hundreds of thousands Irish Famine refugees of all backgrounds to also leave Ulster as they did the rest of Ireland.'
Dr. Francis Costello is a native of the US who has lived and worked in Belfast since 1999 as an historian both at community level and in academic settings, as well as his work as an economic development consultant. Dr. Costello holds a PhD in Irish Studies from Boston College and has been Visiting Research Professor at the Institute for Conflict Transformation and Social Justice Queens University Belfast, and a guest lecturer at the University of Ulster, and a visiting fellow at the Institute of Irish Studies at QUB. He is currently writing a book on the Global Impact of the Great Irish Famine including a fresh look at the impact of the Famine on all the peoples of Ulster.