The Great Irish Famine of the 1840s left a profound impact on Irish culture, as recent ground-breaking historical and literary research has revealed. Less well documented and explored, however, is the relationship of the Famine and related experiences (hunger, migration, eviction, poverty, institutions and social memory) to visual and material cultures. This book aims to explore how the material and visual cultures of Ireland and its diaspora (including painting, engraving, photography, devotional objects, ritual, drama, film, television, and graphic novels) intersect with the multiple impacts and experiences of the Famine. In tracing the Famine's impact in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and across the diaspora over almost two centuries, it adopts transgenerational as well as transnational approaches to the subject of cultural memory.
Interest in the Famine has increased rather than declined since its sesquicentenary, acquiring new relevance in the wake of Ireland's recent economic collapse and the international contemporary refugee crisis, with which frequent parallels have been drawn. This book arrives in the midst of the Decade of Centenaries, the sequence of key commemorations in Ireland and Northern Ireland that has attracted widespread international public attention. As such, its essays resonate with current developments in Irish cultural history, commemoration and memory, and advances new approaches to studies of memory and materiality.