World renowned expert on the Irish Famine to lecture May 2

Christine Kinealy
Christine Kinealy

March 18, 2013 - Christine Kinealy, a world-renowned authority on the Irish Famine, will deliver the free community lecture, "A Labor of Love: Private Charity during the Great Hunger," from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, in Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University, 3011 Whitney Avenue. Reservations for her lecture are required. Please RSVP by calling 203-582-6500.

Kinealy, who is a visiting scholar in residence at Quinnipiac, will frame her discussion around her forthcoming book, "The Kindness of Strangers," which explores the role private charity played in saving lives during the Famine.

Kinealy is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, where she completed her doctorate on the introduction of the Poor Law to Ireland. She then worked in educational and research institutes in Dublin, Belfast and Liverpool. She has published extensively on the impact of the Great Irish Famine and has lectured on the relationship between poverty and famine in India, Spain, Canada, France, Finland and New Zealand. She also has spoken to invited audiences in the British Parliament and in the U.S. Congress.

Kinealy's first major book "This Great Calamity: The Irish Famine 1845-52" was named the "Irish Post" Book of Year in 1995. Her other publications include: "Lives of Victorian Politicians: Daniel O'Connell;" "A New History of Ireland;" "1848: The Year the World Turned?;" "Teaching and Learning History;" "The Great Famine in Ireland: Impact, Ideology and Rebellion;" "Ireland: A Photohistory 1840-1940;" "Memory, Silence and Commemoration: Ireland's Great Hunger;" "The Forgotten Famine: Hunger and Poverty in Belfast 1840-50;" "A Disunited Kingdom: England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, 1800-1949;" and "A Death-Dealing Famine: The Great Hunger in Ireland;" "Repeal and Revolution: The 1848 Uprising in Ireland" "War and Peace, Ireland since 1960," and "Daniel O'Connell and Anti-Slavery." She is currently researching the visit of Frederick Douglass to Ireland in 1845 and 1846.

Based in the United States since 2007, Kinealy was named one of the most influential Irish Americans in 2011 by "Irish America" Magazine. In 2013, she received the Holyoke, Mass. St. Patrick's Day Parade's Ambassador Award. The award, which must be approved by the government of Ireland, is given to a person responsible for promoting and fostering relationships between Ireland and the United States.

Ireland's Great Hunger Museum is home to the world's largest collection of visual art, artifacts and printed materials relating to the Irish Famine. The museum preserves, builds and presents its art collection in order to stimulate reflection, inspire imagination and advance awareness of Ireland's Great Hunger and its long aftermath on both sides of the Atlantic.

The collection focuses on the famine years from 1845-52, when blight destroyed virtually all of Ireland's potato crops for consecutive years. The crop destruction, coupled with British governmental indifference to the plight of the Irish, who at the time were part of the United Kingdom, resulted in the deaths of more than 1 million Irish men, women and children and the emigration of more than 2 million to nations around the world. This tragedy occurred even though there was more than adequate food in the country to feed its starving populace. Exports of food and livestock from Ireland actually increased during the years of the Great Hunger.

Works by noted contemporary Irish artists are featured at the museum including internationally known sculptors John Behan, Rowan Gillespie and Eamonn O'Doherty; as well as contemporary visual artists, Robert Ballagh, Alanna O'Kelly Brian Maguire and Hughie O'Donoghue. Featured paintings include several important 19th and 20th‐century works by artists such as James Brenan, Daniel MacDonald, James Arthur O'Connor and Jack B. Yeats.

The museum is open Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays 1-5 p.m.