Fisher Hosts a “Rochester Irish Gathering”
On Sunday, May 19, the St. John Fisher College Irish Studies Program and the Rochester Chapter of the Irish American Cultural Institute (IACI) hosted a Rochester Irish Gathering Commemoration for the victims of the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1850.
During the event, Fisher President, Dr. Donald Bain, presented the IACI Eoin McKiernan Achievement Award to Irish Consul General Noel Kilkenny. Bain was the 2012 award recipient.
The day also included a famine remembrance mass and procession to the famine memorial located on the Fisher campus.
Keynote speaker Christine Kinealy, Professor of History at Drew University and world-renowned authority on the Irish Famine, also led a workshop session entitled, “Charity to Ireland During the Great Famine.” Maureen McGuire from WROC-News 8 served as the event emcee.
A series of afternoon workshops were organized into three tracks: Famine History, Music, and Literature.
- Bernard Hart, Director of the IACI's Irish Literary Roundtable – “Experiencing Ireland Through Literature with special emphasis on the Famine”
- Dennis Hogan, Professional Genealogist – “Researching your Famine Emigrants”
- Fionnuala Regan, Adjunct Professor of English, St. John Fisher College– “Famine Folklore and Fact: One County’s Experiences”
- John O’Sullivan, Dublin-born retired physician – “Was the Famine Genocide?”
- Elizabeth Osta, Author of Jeremiah’s Hunger – “Jeremiah’s Hunger … Surviving the Great Hunger”
- Mary McPartlan, Irish Folk Singer, Fulbright Scholar – “Irish Traditional Women Singers and Songs Part I”
- Cuisle Mo Chroí, Irish Musicians, including Patricia Carey, Mary Lester, Cathy McGrath - “Songs That Recall the Great Hunger”
The day concluded with a Readers’ Theatre, featuring Flight of the Wretched, written by Mike McCarthy, Former Director of Campus Safety and Security at Fisher.
Conference attendees gather around the famine monument at Fisher.
Keynote speaker Christine Kinealy.
Mike McCarthy, left, author of "Flight of the Wretched," acts out a scene from the book during the Readers' Theatre with his son, Ed.