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Truth re Coffin ships?*
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The truth about coffin ships?
An investigation devised by Ben Walsh
Task 1: The memory of the coffin ships                                                                   Task 2   Task 3    Task 4    Teacher notes

These two pictures are photographs of the , Co. Mayo, Ireland.
Of all of the images which could have been used, this memorial chose to focus on the coffin ships.

Irish National Famine Memorial
This shows us what a powerful impact the coffin ships have had on the memory of Irish people.
But why have they had such an impact?
Study the images closely and work out:
1. What messages the artist is trying to send with this memorial.
2. How the artist uses images rather than words to get the messages across.

Click here for some suggestions.

Focus of investigation

The investigation, consisting of four tasks, helps students to think about widely held perceptions of the Famine, or in this case the flight across the Atlantic which was precipitated by the Famine.

It examines the traditional, popular view that the starving migrants fled across the sea in appalling coffin ships.


Investigation & teacher note (pdf)

PowerPoint for Task 1

Extracts from web sites in MS Word for Task 3: A Watery Grave  The Worst Coffin Ships

Shipping statistics for Task 4 (MS Excel)

Grosse Île & the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada

Following the Famine - an excellent Canadian site*

Two paintings:Emigrant Ship; Typhus (Grosse Îsle)

* 'The latest revisions to www.irishfamine.cahave been completed through the efforts of The Jeanie Johnston Educational Foundation. We now have extended programs, streaming videos and new photos and lessons for students and guides and helpful methods for teachers to minimize their workload in teaching this course. This web site is part of the Quebec Ministry of Education curriculum for the Province of Quebec. The introduction by Premier Jean Charest on video is one of 23 streaming videos on the site which covers a vast range of subjects contributed by some of the most published historians from the Universities of Cambridge, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Australia, Ireland and our own McGill College, Canada. All members both old and young will benefit from this site. It is historically correct, unlike many publications on the market today.'

More study units & other resources on the Famine