Annual Mass at Carfin

Published on Tuesday 5th May, 2009 by Celtic Trust

Annual Mass concelebrated at Carfin in memory of An Gorta Mór

To remember the Great Hunger & the modern Irish presence in Scotland As we know only too well at Celtic, one of the greatest diasporas of people around the world originates from Ireland. Indeed, only for the Irish diaspora there would be no Celtic Football Club in Glasgow. Part of the mass Irish dispersal arrived in Scotland, and Glasgow in particular, as a result of the cataclysmic great Hunger of 1845-51. Starvation was followed by typhus, dysentery and scurvy and mass evictions of people from the land. Losing their simple homes or panic-stricken by the spectre of famine and fever, tens of thousands emigrated, mainly to the USA, England and Scotland. Many took disease with them and thousands died on the journey, when they arrived at their destination or, within a short time of arrival there. By the 1860s Ireland’s population was halved from its 1845 figure of eight million through starvation, disease and emigration making the Great Irish Hunger one of the most lethal in modern world history. This was an important event not only in Irish history, but in Scotland's history too. As a result of this holocaust, the west central belt of Scotland experienced an influx of around 100,000 refugees from Ireland. At 3pm on Sunday 13th June at Carfin Grotto in Lanarkshire a Mass will be held in memory of those who died as a result of the Great Hunger, those who fled their native land, and for those of Irish descent that live in Scotland today. The concelebrated Mass offered by Bishop Devine and numerous other priests at Carfin will also constitute a national day for those of Irish descent in Scotland in remembering their roots and heritage and celebrating the positive economic, social, cultural and political contribution their community has made to modern Scotland. Part of the legacy of the Irish presence in Scotland is of course Celtic Football Club which itself recently remembered the Great Hunger by wearing a commemorative badge sown onto the first team shirt in the match versus Hearts in May this year as part of Famine Memorial Day. The multi-generational Irish community in Scotland, with roots in 19th and 20th century migration has grown in esteem and stature in recent years, remembering its past and facing the present and future with growing confidence. A community that also remembers that Famine, largely a result of political decisions, war, greed and colonialism, continues to steal the lives of around 30,000 people ‘every day’ in our modern highly developed world.


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