This is the Irish Hunger Memorial – a half-acre site at the end of Vesey Street dedicated to the memory of the Great Irish Famine, which killed more than a million people in the mid 1800s. It means that this memorial is very at odds with its surroundings in the Financial District – both aesthetically and because of what it represents.Then I walked around the memorial and found a lit entrance to the garden. Walking up the alley, I reached part of a cottage stone wall that gave way to a path. I took the path and walked to the top of the memorial, which gave me a gorgeous view to the Jersey City skyline. This could sound insincere, seeing as I was surrounded by high rise buildings, but this memorial is really authentic. With the icy winds whipping my face and freezing my fingers, I could have been on an Irish moor. The native shrubs and rocks, which were all imported from the west coast of Ireland, perfectly recreated the landscape. It was easy to recall old family trips to Galway and Kilkenny.
This is such a bizarre spot and totally unlike anything I’d expected. I just hope that some of those scuttling suits sometimes take a moment to look at the memorial and reflect on just how much they have.
The Irish Hunger Memorial is open daily until 6.30pm. After this time, you can still see the memorial from the street, you just can’t get inside and take the path.