The Irish Memorial
A National Monument at Penn's Landing, Philadelphia
Placed in a prominent location at Front and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia, the Sculpture is surrounded by a majestic landscape garden and public park. Interpretive signage provides valuable educational material on the historical aspects of this turbulent period. It brings to life the history of An Gorta Mor, its victims and survivors.
The Memorial portrays the indefatigable spirit of the Irish and its eagerness to engage the challenges of a new world. It serves as testimony to the rich heritage of the Irish-American people who proudly claim their Irish legacy. Each generation of children will know this story, and the Irish Memorial will be a symbol and record for them of this historic human drama. This Tribute not only commemorates the past, but also recognizes the contributions made to the growth of this nation by the survivors and their descendants. It educates and inspires present and future visitors to the site.
The 1.75-acre site for the Irish Memorial is a park that overlooks the Delaware River at Penn's Landing. It is a fitting location because so many of the Irish disembarked along these very shores. It's proximity to Independence National Historical Park further enhances the volume of visitors to this prominent spot.
The design suggests the multitudes with approximately 35 bronze figures arranged in clusters or vignettes. The monument, rectangular in shape, is made of bronze and is approximately 12' high, 24' long and 12' wide.
The basic profile is a large "wedge" with the highest end facing west as anxious immigrants dock in America, full of hope and looking to the future of freedom and opportunity. The east end depicts the lowest, blackest days, the depths of the misery of starvation. The south side provides a view to grasp the full length and height of the bronze memorial. This design is a true sculpture in the round, with engaging subjects and intriguing shapes seen from every angle.
Suggestions of "ship" and "landscape" create an interesting design and continuity for the interactive groups in the sculpture. Figures are loosely modeled, vague and impressionistic, drawing the viewer closer to experience the detail expressed in the faces and gestures.
For countless centuries, bronze has been chosen for important memorials. It is easy to maintain and repair. The silicon bronze that is used in this sculpture is particularly resilient. A dark patina is added to the bronze, with a touch of green that will grow deeper over the years. This tribute will open the hearts and minds of all who see it and provide a place of interest, education, beauty and hope for future generations.
The Memorial was created in clay before being cast in bronze.