The long shadow of history, Monaghan Community Network visits Roscommon/Mayo

The Great Irish Famine of the 1840s left a profound impact on Irish culture. Famine and related consequences (hunger, migration, eviction, poverty, institutions and social memory) have changed more than the course of our history, they have also affected the culture and history of other places, particularly England, Scotland and America. The Peace IV Monaghan Network tour to Roscommon/Mayo from 22nd to 24th March 2019 was a fitting Cultural Awareness Project visit to learn more about the impact of famine on Ireland, and learn about how our history has shaped the way we are today, at home and abroad.

The outing included a tour of Strokestown Park, House and Gardens, and Famine museum which was opened by President Mary Robinson in 1994, a visit to Knock Marian Shrine and Museum, a guided tour of Mayo Peace Park in Castlebar, and a tour of Turlough Park House and the Museum of Country Life, Castlebar. Culture often refers to the characteristics that are formed through language, history, food, geography, arts, beliefs and family values. Over the weekend there was ample opportunity for informal networking, with a mixture of shared conversation, dancing, storytelling, poetry, and songs and dance from India, Poland, and Ireland. Exploring other cultures promotes a better understanding of the world we live in, valuing and respect for other cultures and our own, a reduction in stereotypes, a chance to find new and interesting people and new experiences, and the promotion of effective communication so that we can all live and work well together.