Mass marks Great Hunger for Irish community in Scotland

A MASS is being planned in memory of those who died as a result of the Great Hunger, those who fled their native land, and for those of Irish descent that live in Scotland today.

The Mass will be concelebrated 3pm on Sunday June 13 at Carfin Grotto in Lanarkshire by Bishop Joseph Devine and numerous other priests.

The Mass at Carfin will also constitute a national day for those of Irish descent in Scotland in remembering their roots and heritage and celebrating the positive economic, social, cultural and political contribution their community has made to modern Scotland.

The Irish community is “a multi-generational Irish community, with roots in 19th and 20th century migration to Scotland that has grown in confidence and stature in recent years, remembering its past and facing the present and future with growing confidence,” according to Dr Joseph Bradley.   It is also ‘a community that also remembers that famine, largely a result of political decisions, war, greed and colonialism, continues to steal the lives of around 30,000 people ‘every day’ in our modern highly developed world.’

Part of this mass Irish dispersal arrived in Scotland as a result of the cataclysmic great Hunger of 1845-51. Starvation was followed by typhus, dysentery and scurvy and mass evictions of people from the land.  Losing their simple homes or panic-stricken by the spectre of famine and fever, tens of thousands emigrated, mainly to the USA, England and Scotland.  Many were lost along the way or upon arrival. By the 1860s Ireland’s population was halved from its 1845 figure of eight million through starvation, disease and emigration making the Great Irish Hunger one of the most lethal in modern world history.

“This was an important event not only in Irish history, but in Scotland’s history too,” Dr Bradley added.

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