Quinnipiac Famine Conference
By Matthew Skwiat, Contributing Editor
August / September 2014
The 20th Ulster-American Symposium hosted at Quinnipiac University was held this past June in conjunction with Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute. Since 1976, the Ulster-American Heritage Symposium has met every two years at co-sponsoring universities in North America and Northern Ireland in an effort to shed light on the historical connections between the two places. This year’s theme, ‘Hunger, Poverty, and Migration: a Transatlantic Perspective,’ included presentations on everything from literature, history, and film to language, religion, geography, and genealogy. The three keynote speakers, Dr. Piaras Mac Einri, Dr. Christine Kinealy, and Dr. Maureen Murphy, spoke on themes of memorialization, forgotten famines, and the creation of memorials respectively, weaving together the many threads of the conference.
The conference also included excursions to Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, the Yale Centre for British Art (co-sponsored by the Northern Ireland Bureau), the exhibit of the Lady Sligo Letters at the Arnold Bernhard Library, and a final day in NYC with a special viewing of the Bishop Hughes exhibit at the Irish Consulate followed by lunch hosted by Irish Consul General Noel Kilkenny and his wife Hanorah.
Special recognition is given to Quinnipiac president Dr. John Lahey, Dr. Warren Hofstra, Dr. Patrick Fitzgerald, Dr. Brian Lambkin, and Turlough McConnell, whose efforts brought the symposium to Quinnipiac and secured its success. The symposium itself would have been nothing, however, if it wasn’t for the hard work and devotion that Dr. Gerard Moran, Dr. Christine Kinealy, and the incredible Charity Stout of Public Affairs at Quinnipiac University put into the creation of such a successful event.