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Skibbereen Heritage Centre
The Heritage Centre is located in the award winning, beautifully restored Old Gasworks Building, in Skibbereen, one of West Cork's most picturesque towns. This Great Famine exhibition commemorates the tragic period in the 1840s that is known in Irish History as the Great Hunger. Skibbereen, along with many areas of the west, was very badly affected losing up to a third of its population to starvation, disease and emigration.
The Exhibition portrays the Great Famine through primary source accounts of the time, giving an overview of government policies and how they impacted on the ground. Reports from the relief committee in their attempts to alleviate the suffering of local people are shown alongside reports of how the international community responded to the crisis. The story unfolds with interactive dramatisations of actual events and people of the time. The list of actors includes Jeremy Irons.
In 2016 Mirador Media was commissioned to develop an interactive touch screen presentation containing a collection of 'Famine Reports'. The presentation was produced in-house along with a display cabinet matching the style of the existing decor. Mirador Media also replaced all audio headsets with its own 'single-cup armoured headphone' to provide a robust and hygienic solution to the centre. An additional audio listening station was developed for visitors to enjoy 'Dear Old Skibbereen' - a traditional song dedicated to the famine times.
In 2018 Mirador Media designed and installed external signage to commemorate the great famine, both outside the mill house and at the site of one of the workhouses in the town.
In 2019 saw the complete redevelopment of all screen content in 4 languages throughout the centre. This consisted in the production of 20 new short films featuring both the causes and effects of Ireland’s Great Hunger – from the government’s response to the crisis, to local stories about the eviction of the Widow Ganey and the workhouse orphan girls. Jeremy Irons narrated the introduction while local actors Fachtna and Carmel O’Driscoll, Donagh Long, Paul Delaney, Rupert Stutchbury and Tod McCarthy portrayed the voices of the time in these heartbreaking local stories which now form part of the permanent Famine Story exhibition at Skibbereen Heritage Centre.