School level

Minute Silence Requested in Schools to Commemorate Famine Victims

Request for all schools to observe a minute's silence on Friday 17 May in memory of all victims of the Great Famine.

The following letter has been sent to all schools by Catherine Martin, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media:


In 2008, the first annual National Famine Commemoration was held in memory of all those who suffered, died or emigrated during the Great Famine. The 2024 commemoration will take place in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford at 12pm on Sunday 19 May, in the presence of the Taoiseach, Mr Simon Harris T.D.

There is no other event in our history that can be likened to the Great Famine either for its immediate impact or its legacy. That legacy includes a strong appreciation among Irish people of issues such as food security and a strong commitment to humanitarian aid and relief.

I invite you to arrange for all staff and pupils at your school to observe a minute of silent reflection on Friday, 17 May 2024 in memory of all those who suffered loss during the Famine – loss of life, loss of family, loss of home and loss of country. This minute of silence should take place ideally at midday, but can take place at whatever time or format suits  individual schools on the day. I would ask also during this minute of silence that your staff and pupils also remember those who are suffering famine and hunger today, particularly the children and young people living in parts of the world currently afflicted by chronic hunger,  poverty and disease.

It will be a very special and dignified tribute to those who died during the Great Famine and I would like to thank you most sincerely for your support in this regard. If you would like to discuss the matter further, please feel free to contact Ronan Nestor on 085 800 2899 or at


You can find a whole unit of work on the famine on this handy Google Site here.

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