It has been a great pleasure to welcome the Great Famine Voices Roadshow to the Embassy in Washington this week.  It has been a pleasure to have the representatives of the National Famine Museum in Strokestown, County Roscommon with us; and also to hear from a number of local scholars who have been working on the history of the Great Famine and its legacy. The Great Famine is important to Irish-Americans because it is part of the foundation stone of that great community that now numbers thirty three million people who have an Irish heritage, and who connect themselves with Ireland through their ancestors who came mainly in the decades during and after the Great Famine. For Irish-Americans they connect strongly with that story of the Famine immigrants who came to this country through conditions of strife, and who quickly established themselves here and became part of the fabric of today’s America. It has been an opportunity this week to remind people, to remind Irish-Americans, of exactly what happened during the Famine, and also to give them access to some of the latest scholarship about the Famine.  It has been a joy for myself and my colleagues at the embassy to host this Famine commemoration and to bring to the embassy so many people who trace their own family stories back to those dreadful times when Famine struck Ireland and a tradition of emigration was established which created a community of people in this country who are strongly affiliated with Ireland, and have an affinity with Ireland, which is actually very valuable for us today as we connect ourselves with the community of Irish-Americans in part through the story of the Great Famine and its legacy.