“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Brooklyn in Lenawee County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

An Gorta Mor

(The Great Hunger)

An Gorta Mor Marker image. Click for full size.
By TeamOHE, December 8, 2019
1. An Gorta Mor Marker
Or Better Known In Ireland As:
The Great Potato Famine

Ancient Order of Hibernians

We remember the old ones and the younger for we are the harvest of the Hunger. They sleep forever in the land of their birth and our hearts lie with them in the earth. This monument stands as a heartfelt deed to the memory of our departed seed.

Michael McCormack

An Gorta Mor Monument

The proximate cause of the enormous tragedy known as the Great Irish Potato Famine was the rapid spread of a potato blight, known as phytophthora infestans, which ruined several years of the Irish potato crops with a black rot.

Irish peasants had for years depended almost exclusively on the crop for sustenance and a source of income to feed their families as well as to pay farm rent to their landlords, tithes to the Church of England and Taxes to the Crown.

The story is even more tragic when one understands the policies of the British government of that time, which directed tons of grain crops (in quantities more than enough to have prevented

An Gorta Mor Marker image. Click for full size.
By TeamOHE, December 8, 2019
2. An Gorta Mor Marker
the starvation) to be exported from Ireland.

While the potato blight is cited as the most obvious cause of this tragedy, historians have recognized that generations of political and religious oppression of Irish Catholics fostered the conditions that multiplied the impact.

More than one million Irish peasants died and hundreds of thousands were evicted from their small farms; many of these were then crowded into disease infested workhouses.

Along with the population loss from the deaths by starvation and disease; more than 2 million Irish emigrated to other countries, most to the United States. In a few years the population of Ireland shrank from more than 8 million to less than 5 million.

Those that emigrated to Michigan, through hard work, enriched the culture of the area and left a lasting legacy.

The Meaning Behind the Monument

Created by sculptor Kenneth M. Thompson Flatlanders, Blissfield Michigan

The main focus of the memorial is the post-lintel structure constructed from two limestone columns that support a lintel. The lintel, actually one of several steps that formed the Penrose Quarry in Cork Harbor, Ireland, is suspended over a large empty bronze bowl that symbolizes The Great Hunger.' The sculpture is immediately surrounded by cobbles from Donegal, Ireland and encompassing the cobbles is a circle

An Gorta Mor Marker image. Click for full size.
By TeamOHE, December 8, 2019
3. An Gorta Mor Marker
or 'path' of slate that represents the journey made from Ireland to America. The hardscape turns from a circle to a square that is bordered by 32 pavers that bear the names of the 32 counties of Ireland, in Gaelic and English. Beneath each paver is a reliquary containing a stone from that county. The 4 corners bear the names and Coat of Arms of the four provinces of Ireland.

This Michigan An Gorta Mor Memorial (The Great Hunger) monument was constructed in honor of those lives lost to what is more commonly known in Ireland as "The Great Irish Potato Famine” and of those who survived and fostered the resolve that eventually led to the independent Republic of Ireland. The memorial also recognizes those who fled Ireland and emigrated to America as a result of The Great Hunger' and oppression. Most of the 40 million Americans of Irish ancestry owe much to these immigrants whose determination and perseverance helped build this country and the legacy we enjoy.

The memorial's location in the heart of these 'Irish Hills' is appropriate since the area's name derives from that period when several of those tenacious Irish immigrants who settled in this area observed that the rolling hills and lakes reminded them of their homeland. The memorial is located on the property of the Saint Joseph Shrine Church established in 1854 by those and other Catholic

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The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) is a Catholic, Irish-American Fraternal Organization founded in New York City in 1836. The Order can trace its roots back to a parent organization which has existed in Ireland for over 300 years. However, while the organization shares a common thread, the American AOH is a separate and much larger organization. Active across the United States, the Order seeks to aid the newly arrived Irish, both socially and politically. The many divisions and club facilities located throughout the U.S. traditionally have been among the first to welcome hew Irish immigrants. Here, the Irish culture-art, dance, music and sports are fostered and preserved. The AOH has been at the political forefront of issues concerning the Irish, human rights and a peaceful and just solution to the concerns that divide Ireland. The Order has also provided a continuing bridge with Ireland for those who are generations removed from the homeland. For more information please see: and

Sponsored by the following Michigan AOH Divisions: Patrick Ryan Division, Wayne County Sullivan and O'Sullivan Division, Genesee County Stephen J. Walsh Division, Wayne County

Monument Dedicated: September 2004

Interpretative Panel Dedicated: September 2015

Panel Graphic Design By: lan Carolan
Topics. This historical

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marker is listed in this topic list: Disasters.
Location. 42° 3.422′ N, 84° 10.021′ W. Marker is near Brooklyn, Michigan, in Lenawee County. Marker is on U.S. 12, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Brooklyn MI 49230, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named An Gorta Mor (a few steps from this marker); St. Joseph's Church / St. Joseph's Shrine (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. Joseph Shrine (about 600 feet away); Irish Pioneers & Father Gabriel Richards (about 700 feet away); Davenport House (approx. 2.6 miles away); St. Michael and All Angels Church (approx. 2.7 miles away); Wooden Stone School (approx. 4.2 miles away); Brooklyn's Founder (approx. 5.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brooklyn.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 29, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 26, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 26, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Feb. 25, 2021