The Famine Irish in San Francisco: Anthony Bucher recounts the story of the Famine Irish and their descendants in San Francisco.
Because we are in the west, there is an absence of collective memory or collective unconscious and experience of the Famine. This was not a point of disembarkation for Famine refugees. As San Francisco accepted lots of young, rootless males from the slums of New York in the 1850s and 1860s, they were quite possibly the offspring of Famine refugees. Famine immigrants flooded the streets of New York, they had kids, and while they themselves were often incapable of moving beyond the slums of New York, their kids, the more ambitious ones, as soon as they could they left New York and some of them ended up out here. In a sort of distant and attenuated way, we have ties to the Famine. Rather, the movement here is to recognize the Famine experience and say “never again”, to align ourselves with other peoples who have suffered mass calamities, especially hunger in times of relative plenty, who have suffered indifference from the forces that be. We want to raise a monument that recognizes, alongside the Holocaust monument, the obligation to memorialize this terrible suffering, to be involved enough in the world to take measures so that this does not happen to other people. That has been the impetus here in San Francisco.
A view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Lands End, San Francisco Irish Famine Memorial Site.