Famine exhibition in MacDonagh’s Workhouse Square

Art and design students from the Wexford campus of IT Carlow will present a display entitled ‘The Great Famine Exhibition’ at Workhouse Square in MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre from February 10-17.

Art and design students from the Wexford campus of IT Carlow will present a display entitled ‘The Great Famine Exhibition’ at Workhouse Square in MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre from February 10-17.

First- and second-year students have worked over the last few months to provide a representation and visual work in various materials and forms to commemorate and remember the great Irish Famine and the story of the discovery of a Famine-era graveyard in Kilkenny.

The students were asked as part of the brief to come up with ideas on how best to commemorate this great Irish tragedy and the burial site. Students’ suggestions included a memorial garden or sculptures and monuments and these will be on display during the exhibition.

Several sculptural pieces created by students will also form part of the exhibition.

The event will be formally opened on February 10 at 2pm by centre manager Donie Butler and Maureen Hegarty of the Kilkenny Archaeology Society.

MacDonagh Junction occupies the site of the former Kilkenny Union Workhouse, and the workhouse buildings were found to be adjacent to an unmarked and forgotten famine burial site.

During the construction of the centre in 2006, this burial site was excavated and recorded. The site revealed over 970 bodies – victims of the 1845-1849 famine – a disproportionate number of these skeletal human remains being children.