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First Friday Seisiún



International Famine Commemoration

November 3rd, 2019

Josepha Madigan T.D., Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Chair of the National Famine Commemoration Committee, has announced that the 2019 Commemoration will take place in Phoenix on November 3rd , 2019.

Consul General Robert O’Driscoll and Minister of State for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Patrick O’Donovan T.D., will preside over the Commemoration on behalf of Minister Madigan and the Irish Government. O’Donovan is a native of Co. Limerick and was a member of Limerick County Council before joining the Irish government and previously served as Minister of State for Tourism and Sport. O’Driscoll is the Consul General of Ireland – Western United States. Born in Dublin, Robert has served in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Brussels, United Arab Emirates and in Ireland’s Embassy to Saudi Arabia.

The Famine Commemoration was first established in 2008 following an Irish Government decision to commemorate the Great Irish Famine with an annual national famine memorial day. The annual national commemoration revolves between the four provinces of Ireland. An international event also takes place annually to commemorate the Great Irish Famine.

2019 also marks the 20th anniversary of the dedication of the An Gorta Mór, The Great Hunger Memorial at the Irish Cultural Center/McClelland Library. This monument, designed by Phoenix artist Maureen McGuire, was the first structure built on ICC site in 1999. The arch reflects a Celtic passageway, symbolizing entry from the old world to the new, from despair to hope, from oppression to freedom. Seamus King did the marble/stone work, and Sean Prior composed the poem.

Schedule of Commemoration Events:

November 1st: 6PM – 10PM  First Friday featuring music and a Pub Quiz.  Our Exhibit “The Irish in Latin American” will be FREE to all visitors.

November 2nd:  10AM – 3PM A very special Family Story Hour at 10:30 AM featuring the book “Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato.”  All guests who bring a non-perishable food item with them for donation to St. Mary’s Food Bank will receive a FREE tour! Our Exhibit “The Irish in Latin American” will be FREE to all visitors.

November 3rd: 10:30AM – 1PM : International Famine Commemoration Ceremony at the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library
 9:00AM: Mass at St. Mary’s Basilica
10:00AM: Doors Open
10:30AM: Prayer Service/Blessing
11:00AM: Commemoration Ceremony
12:00PM: Meet and Greet

Due to high demand and limited seating, RSVPs will be required to attend the Commemoration Ceremony activities from 10:30AM – 1PM. Please use the button to the right (or below if you are on your phone) to RSVP today.  Seating is limited and we ask that you bring your confirmation email with you on the day of.

1:00PM – 5:00PM: Family-Friendly FREE public event at the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library

if you have any queries about the International Famine Commemoration event please email


The Great Famine Voices Roadshow

The Great Famine Voices Roadshow is coming to the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library during the International Famine Commemoration in Phoenix on November 2-3, 2019.

Come and share your family memories and stories about coming from Ireland to America during the Great Famine Voices Roadshow!

The Irish National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park and Irish Heritage Trust are bringing the Great Famine Voices Roadshow to the Irish Cultural Centre and McClelland Library.

The purpose of the Roadshow is to bring together Irish emigrants, their descendants, and members of their communities to share family memories and stories of migration from Ireland to Arizona and the Western United States, especially during the period of the Great Hunger and afterwards. They will be gathered for the Great Famine Voices online archive:

The Phoenix Great Famine Voices Roadshow will take place during opening hours on Saturday, November 2nd from 10AM – 3PM and during the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library Open House on Sunday, November 3rd from 1PM – 5PM. It will provide an opportunity for people to share their family memories and stories of migration, and to strengthen their sense of ancestry and historical and current Irish connections. The Phoenix Great Famine Voices Roadshow is funded by the Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme.