The quest for Freedom,
the impacts of theFamine
& the story of Emigration
Throughout Irish history, there are significant events that shaped life in Ireland today. There are three key areas that are reflected in what you will experience when visiting the Emerald Isle. There are many sites, museums and attractions that tell the stories of these events. Some of the locations are interactive providing information in a visual, informative and fun way. Many are free of charge to visit.
The Quest for Freedom - these sites tell the stories of Ireland's fight for self-governance without outside interference and the battles fought to gain their freedom from foreign invaders like the Vikings, the Anglo-Normans and the English.
The Famine - these sites tell the stories about the Great Famine (aka Irish Potato Famine) of the mid-1800s. This was a period of mass starvation and disease. During the famine about one million people died and another million emigrated from Ireland causing the population to decrease by 20% to 25%.
Emigration - the Irish emigrated to other lands - over 10 million of them throughout the years - for various reasons. Hear the stories of these brave people, learn about their hardships, discover the impact they made on the world.
Here are some of the most interesting sites & attractions to learn more about & experience how these significant events shaped Irish life.
The Quest for FREEDOM
GPO Witness History
GPO Witness History is an immersive, interactive and engaging experience that puts you right inside the General Post Office during Easter week in 1916. History will come to life as you experience events from both sides of the conflict and through the eyes of bystanders caught in the crossfire through electronic touch screens, video, audio visual booths, sound and authentic artifacts - many previously unseen. You'll be immersed in the action as you compose newspaper reports, examine the original copy of the Proclamation and send Morse code to declare the Irish Republic by radio.
Michael Collins House
Michael Collins House, in Clonakilty, is a museum dedicated to Irish patriot and revolutionary hero, Michael Collins. Visit to learn about the "Big Fella" himself, his life story entwined with the history of the fight for Irish independence. Guided tours, interactive displays, audio visuals, artifacts and more bring the history to life. In addition, the museum looks at the struggle for Irish independence from its beginnings leading up to and including the 1798 rebellions all the way through the ages to Michael Collins death towards the end of the Civil War in 1922.
Check out the 1996 film "Michael Collins" starring Liam Neeson.
The leaders of the 1916 Uprising in Dublin were executed at Kilmainham Gaol (jail) shortly after the rebellion ended. The cross in the photo to the left represents the spot where they were executed. The harsh treatment of these leaders along with martial law that followed swayed public opinion dramatically leading in part to the Irish War of Independence just a few years later. The gaol tour is very informative as you walk through the cell block where the leaders were held and tour guides tell the stories of the day by day events.
The Impacts of the FAMINE
Dunbrody Famine Ship
Experience the story of famine emigration from the point of view of those who left - the brave and desperate, and above all, ordinary people who chose to leave everything they knew for an uncertain future abroad. Waiting for you is The Dunbrody, a 3 masted barque that will be your home for the month long trip to New York. On board, tour guides will explain the harshness of conditions on the voyage. Costumed performers play the roles of famine emigrants and bring the experience to life. Learn the fate awaiting those who survived the trip.
National Famine Museum
at Strokestown Park
Using the documents and objects from Strokestown as a basis for the interpretation, the National Famine Museum tells the story of the Irish Great Hunger, eviction, migration, the assisted emigration scheme enacted by Major Dennis Mahon of Strokestown Park and the story of his murder in November 1847. The gun that fired the fatal shot is also on display. The Strokestown Famine Archive contains more than 55,000 documents in relation to the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s. It is a complete record of economic, social and estate history over a 300-year period.
Famine Memorial, Dublin
Famine Ship Memorial, County Mayo
The Story of EMIGRATION
Cobh Heritage Centre
Because so many people from Ireland's past travelled through the town of Cobh, one of the world's finest natural harbors, visitors can learn about the stories of these emigrants. Over three million Irish people emigrated from this port. The Emigration Story relates the maritime, naval and military history of the area, the fortification of the harbor with forts and takes you on a journey of exploration of the lives of those who left from the 1600s right through to the 1950s.
EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum
Epic The Irish Emigration Museum, located in CHQ in Dublin's Docklands, is an interactive journey about how a small island made a big impact on the world. Discover 1,500 years of stories, history and culture in 20 interactive galleries. Explore why 10 million people left the island of Ireland and see how they influenced the world. Follow in the path of their descendants and discover how 70 million people around the world today claim Irish heritage.
Ulster American Folk Park
Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, Northern Ireland is an outdoor museum that tells the world famous story of Irish emigration to North America during the Irish famine. Here you will follow the emigrant trail as you journey from the thatched cottages of Ulster, on board a full scale emigrant sailing ship leading to the log cabins of the American frontier. You will meet an array of costumed characters on your way with traditional crafts to show, tales to tell and food to share.