Famine and Financial Services
Another contrasting aspect of Dublin you can see on our guided bike tour.
A detail from the Famine memorial, by Rowan Gillespie, with a building in the International Financial Services Centre behind. It’s a start contrast; famine and financial services – hunger and global finance.
According to the Dublin Dockland Development Authority’s website:
‘Famine’ (1997) was commissioned by Norma Smurfit and presented to the City of Dublin in 1997. The sculpture is a commemorative work dedicated to those Irish people forced to emigrate during the 19th century Irish Famine. The bronze sculptures were designed and crafted by Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie and are located on Custom House Quay in Dublin’s Docklands.
This location is a particularly appropriate and historic as one of the first voyages of the Famine period was on the ‘Perserverance’ which sailed from Custom House Quay on St. Patrick’s Day 1846. Captain William Scott, a native of the Shetland Isles, was a veteran of the Atlantic crossing, gave up his office job in New Brunswick to take the ‘Perserverance’ out of Dublin. He was 74 years old. The Steerage fare on the ship was £3 and 210 passengers made the historical journey. They landed in New York on the 18th May 1846. All passengers and crew survived the journey.
The ‘famine and financial services’ contrast is again apparent, as the memorial was commissioned by one of Ireland’s wealthiest women, Norma Smurfit.
And despite its success in terms of employment – and tax revenue, it’s not all rosy for the IFSC, according to this Irish Times article:
Close to the famine memorial, you may notice several dozen small pieces of metal and glass embedded in the paving here on the north bank of the Liffey.
This is just one example of public art in Dublin. There are 200 of these small pieces with a sea life theme along the north side of the Dublin Docklands. They’re the work of Rachel Joynt, an Irish public art sculptor. This is art in Dublin’s Docklands that you might miss if you were walking – or cycling.