In December 1864, at the height of the Great Famine, the Board of Guardians of Carrick-on-Shannon Workhouse directed the Master to appropriate the north corner of the Workhouse grounds for the burial of the dead. The taking of this decision was as a result of a complaint from the Rev. William Percy of the Parish of Kiltoghert relative to the improper internment of deceased paupers in the Parish churchyard. The site of that burial ground in which hundreds of the victims of the Famine, many of them children, is at the rear of what is now St Patrick’s Hospital. Its use as a graveyard was discontinued during the 1940’s and trees were planted on the site. Eventually the area became over-grown.

To commemorate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Great Famine, Carrick-on-Shannon and District Historical Society decided to take on the task of turning the site of this old graveyard into a Garden of Rememberance. This scheme had the co-operation of the Matron of the hospital, Ms. Fullard, and of the North Western Health Board. With the help of the local M.R.D. and a FAS team, the area was soon cleared of all unwanted growth. Paths were laid and flower beds planted. Plaques were erected to the memory of all that died during those terrible years. These plaques were sponsored by the New York Leitrim Society, Michael Reynolds & Sons, Carrick-on-Shannon and the Historical Society. A fountain was placed in the centre of the Garden.

On Saturday 18th July 1998, following a prayer service conducted by Rev. Brian Brennan and Rev. Ivan Biggs, President Mary McAleese officially opened the Garden of Remembrance. In her opening statement the President said :

In dedicating this small part of Carrick-on-Shannon – the Famine Graveyard in the shadow of the former workhouse (itself a place that featured in the Great Famine), you are in a sense completing the process of grieving and accepting the terrible tragedy that has affected all our lives on way or another. That process of acceptance allows us to look back and reflect on what happened – to consider the factors that contributed to it – and to recognise that it is now very much part of our make-up.

It is hoped that as many people as possible, young and old, will continue to visit the Garden. It is a reminder to all of the terrible tragedy that befell this country over a century and a half ago and also a reminder that famine still afflicts many Third World Countries today.

  Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim - Telephone : 071 96 20118