Great Irish Famine Exhibition

The Skibbereen Union area lost over a third of its people during the Great Famine, one of the biggest losses of any union in the country.

Horrific reports from the Skibbereen area featured in the media of the time as it became infamous for the suffering endured by its people. Skibbereen quickly became a byword for famine and is still synonymous world-wide with the Great Hunger today.

As early as 28 October 1845, Dr Dan Donovan, the famous Famine doctor, reported that “one third of the entire crop was lost” and the area very quickly descended into chaos as society broke down. The effects of the Famine also lingered on in Skibbereen long after conditions improved in other parts of the country.

Skibbereen is the most important and significant town in Ireland in terms of its Famine heritage and many of the sites in the town have direct links with this tragic time.

The Skibbereen area was one of the worst affected by the Irish Famine. It became notorious as the centre of some of the most harrowing suffering endured by famine victims throughout the country.
Between 8,000 and 10,000 unidentified souls are buried in the infamous Famine burial pits at Abbeystrowry; one of three mass burial sites used during the Great Famine in Skibbereen

Gain an insight into this complex period of Irish history through personal accounts of those who experienced the Great Famine in Skibbereen.

Learn more about this important period of Irish history through exhibitions, dramatisations and interactive stations at the Great Irish Famine Exhibition at Skibbereen Heritage Centre.

Find out how government actions and local and international relief measures impacted on the people of the area.

Take a ‘virtual tour’ of Famine sites in the town and hear the stories associated with them.

Appreciate the enormity of this national tragedy in microcosm through the experiences of the people of Skibbereen during Ireland’s Great Famine.

Audio visuals subtitled in French, German and Irish covering the government’s response to the crisis, relief works, death on the roads, Skibbereen’s soup kitchen, a letter to the Queen, international response, students from Oxford, a visitor from America, the workhouse system, the workhouse orphan girls, orphan Jane’s story, horrific deaths near Schull, eviction, evicting the Widow Ganey, emigration, the O’Sullivan family emigration and the ‘end of the Famine’.

Famine Story Book

Gain an insight into the major events of the Great Famine in Ireland
from the experiences of the people of Skibbereen.

Famine Story App

Hear the story of the Great Famine in Skibbereen from Dr Dan Donovan
and others of the era as they guide you around the town.

Famine Story Sites

A map of Skibbereen’s Famine heritage sites showing buildings and streets
that have direct links to this tragic time.

Famine Sites Video Clips

Short video clips showing Famine sites in Skibbereen.