In 2005 when the site at MacDonagh Junction was in redevelopment, the remains of 976 human famine victims were found on site. From here, The Kilkenny Famine Experience project was born, a community reconnection project to bring the discovery of those victims back into living memory and connect them to 976 living individuals from across the globe, with each participant leaving their fingerprints etched in brass. Human stories are retold at the Kilkenny Famine Workhouse on which the Centre is constructed and offers a free audio-visual tour of the building describing the Kilkenny Famine Experience. This tour has welcomed over 7,000 participants since November 2017. To honour the victims and the survivors, a beautiful 12 foot bronze sculpture was unveiled at the site.
Good Causes funding helped the team at MacDonagh Junction achieve the completion of a beautiful award winning bronze sculpture commission, depicting hope for the survivors, based on the story of two boys who sought shelter in the Workhouse after being abandoned by their parents. The limestone crypt itself was gilded with brass bands with the 976 fingerprints of the community project participants etched on them. A physical marker of participation and a symbol of the individuality of the victims.
This place has brought descendants of the Kilkenny workhouse survivors from across the globe to visit Kilkenny and spend time retracing their steps as they left this place to survive and thrive in UK, Canada, USA and Australia.
This reconnection continues into the future, and we’re so proud to have supported the project.