The Dunbrody Famine Ship is docked in the quayside in New Ross, and is an authentic replica of an 1840’s emigrant vessel, a three-masted barque, The Dunbrody, a ship that offered a life line for those escaping the harsh and difficult times of the Great Famine. In 1849 the famine was responsible for the death of around one million people in just seven years. During this period around 1.5 million people emigrated from Ireland with most of those destined for North America. It was an arduous and dangerous journey that took about a month to reach New York. Visitors will get an insightful look in to this important period in Irish history, that forever shaped Irish culture.
In this interactive experience visitors step aboard The Dunbrody and immediately begin to get a sense of the journey that awaited those about to travel and the desperation they must have felt. Through costumed performers the distressing stories of the passengers are told on this guided tour. Had those who were travelling been aware of the journey awaiting them maybe they would have stayed were they were. These ships were referred to as Coffin Ships as a fifth of those passengers onboard died.
They travelled in cramped and dirty conditions. Disease was rife and spread easily amongst the overcrowded and unhygienic conditions. Their travelling campanions were rats and other vermin. Those who were crammed in steerage were allocated an area of 6 foot square for up to four passengers and their children, and were permitted on deck for fresh air for only an hour a day, they washed in seawater and used buckets for toilets. Above deck the conditions were better but, this mode of travel was only available to the elite.
On reaching their destination they made their way to the Arrivals Hall, where a whole new set of struggles awaited those arriving.
The Dunbrody Famine Ship tour lasts about an hour, it provides an atmospheric, insightful and realistic account of this perilous journey that so many undertook, as they were escaping the harsh realities of life in Ireland and looking forward to a brighter future in America, the promised land for so many. There are also excellent themed exhibits in the small museum. It will allow visitors to immerse themselves in all areas of Irish culture and history.
Alongside the tour there is the America Hall of Fame, this serves to commemorate the vital contribution made by Irish men and women to U.S history, in addition to accepting the ongoing contribution of contemporary Irish Americans. Every year the hall inducts new members.
Also located here are the Visitor Centre and a riverside cafe, where you can get a nice selection of snacks and light lunches.
This attraction is open daily throughout the year, from 9.00am to 6.00pm.
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