The Great Famine - An Gorta Mór

The Western Promenade is the site of the <srong>An Gorta Mór </strong> memorial commemorating the more than 1,200 Irish Catholics buried in this location between the early 1830s and 1858, all but a few dozen without gravestones. The first Memorial service was held in August 1999 to celebrate the installation of the memorial . In addition the the Irish in Portland, the black marble stone was also dedicated in memory of all the victims of an Gorta Mór, the Great Hunger in the Irish language, Between 1845 and 1851, over a million died while another million emigrated to all corners of the world,, especially to the United States and Portland, Portland's 1,200 Irish Catholics included immigrants from all over Ireland, including from Counties Meath, Leitrim, Tyrone, Kerry, Limerick, Louth, Donegal, Derry, Mayo, Galway, and Cork. Most of those interred were young; infants or children of famine refugees. Others died in tragic accidents on the railroad or the waterfront, from falls or drowning. The memorialized include Civil War veterans, such as Peter Murphy, Edward Murphy, William Gillespie, Patrick Boyce and Timothy O’Sullivan. Many died in the almshouse or in other Maine towns and were brought back to Portland. This was the only burial ground for local Catholics until the creation and opening of Calvary Cemetery in what is now South Portland in August 1858.

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