A dedicated group of individuals wanted to memorialize An Gorta Mór, or “The Great Hunger” that drove many Irish to the United States. A decision was made to build a monument depicting the struggles and hopes of the Irish people. The monument was then to be surrounded by a 1.75 acre park designed to further tell the story of An Gorta Mór.
The 12 foot high, 30 foot long, 12 foot wide, and extremely heavy bronze statue provided transportation challenges. JJ White had to ensure the Monument’s care and install the piece without damaging any of the bronze figures. The subject matter is so deeply emotional for many, creating a situation with no room for error. The on-going fundraising efforts also created budget issues.
The company’s personal stake in the memorial guaranteed that the trials and hopes of the Irish people were taken to heart at all times. To alleviate budget issues, JJ White donated over $275,000 worth of materials, labor, and management to make the dream of a lasting tribute a reality. The massive sculpture was thoughtfully placed on top of a plinth, allowing for easier, safer installation. JJ White then installed gardens, walkways, lighting, and historical signage to attract people to the area.
The Irish Memorial was dedicated on October 25, 2003 and stands as a significant addition to the memorials located around the city. The Memorial continues captivate viewers with its stunning display and serves as a major attraction in Philadelphia. Through this monument, thousands have learned about the plight of the Irish people during An Gorta Mór and recognize what Irish descendants have contributed to the United States.