Penne 4 Your Thoughts

Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more

The world through your eyes: Hope

The Irish Memorial in Philadelphia, by Penne Cole

The Irish Memorial in Philadelphia, by Penne Cole

The woman clasps her shawl tightly around her neck to ward off the chill that seeps so easily into her bony frame. Her hand rests above her heart, trying to quell the excited pounding. They have arrived, mother and child, after months at sea. They are safe at last, in this new land of plenty. Squinting up at the bright sun, at this new horizon, all she can see is hope.

Philadelphia’s Irish Memorial was erected in 2003 in memory of the millions of Irish who perished in The Great Hunger of 1845 – 1850. When a potato blight hit Ireland and destroyed most, if not all the crop, the Irish could do nothing but watch as their main food source wilted in front of their eyes. As whole villages perished from starvation, many sought refuge aboard the ships heading towards America, Canada, and Australia. The choice was an impossible one: Stay and risk starving to death or board a “coffin ship” and risk dying of fever and typhus.

This woman and her child were some of the lucky ones who survived the journey; they had the courage and determination to start over in this new land. Fuelled by nothing but a hope and a prayer, they soldiered on.

This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: The world through your eyes. For my other Photo Challenge entries, click here.

Practical information

Philadelphia’s Irish Memorial Monument sits on the corner of Front and Chestnut Streets in Penn’s Landing.

Public Transport

Metro: Take the Metro to the 2nd Street stop on the Market-Frankfurt Line

Bus: Buses to Penn’s Landing include numbers 5, 17, 21, 25, 33, 42 and 48 has more information about the Great Hunger and the Irish migration,

8 comments on “The world through your eyes: Hope

  1. xpat92
    June 26, 2013

    Hi Penne,
    Bless you your post. I will have to check out this monument on a future trip. I am of Irish-American background and do feel their sacrifice. We are here because they took a chance to have a better life…
    Philly is one of my fav US cities, too. 🙂

    • Penne Cole
      June 26, 2013

      Thanks Barbara! Glad you liked the post. The statue really resonated with me when I visited several years ago. I immediately thought of the photo when I saw this week’s photo theme.

  2. SimplySage
    June 26, 2013


  3. Tina Schell
    June 26, 2013

    Huh, lived in Phila for years and never saw this! Actually lived at Front and Lombard for years! Is it new? I moved away 25 years ago.

    • Penne Cole
      June 29, 2013

      I think it was built around 2003, so yes, newish.

  4. Rob
    June 27, 2013

    I have moved this year, but I lived in Philly for a few years. I grew up visiting the city. This monument holds a special place in my heart. I love that you used it for the challenge. It absolutely represents hope. The Irish lineage of my family came to America during the famine. Thank you. Such a lovely part of the monument to focus on! Great photo 😉

    • Penne Cole
      June 29, 2013

      Thanks, Rob. I’m not Irish, but something about the monument spoke to me too. Hope and determination in the face of adversity are universal qualities that we can all appreciate I suppose.

  5. Pingback: Back to Ireland | Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me

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