Nineteen orphan girls from Ballyshannon workhouse who went to Australia in famine times are to be remembered on national radio and at an international conference over the coming weeks.
Their story will be told on RTÉ Radio 1’s The History Show, at 6 pm on Sunday, January 11. The programme will feature Mark McMenamin’s interview with Pam Barker, a great great grandchild of Mary Anne McDermott, a native of Belleek who left the workhouse for Australia in 1848. Pam travelled especially from Sydney to visit the newly opened orphan girls’ memorial beside Ballyshannon workhouse. An upbeat version of “Adieu to Ballyshanny or The Winding Banks of Erne” by the Pender sisters will also be heard as well as an interview with Anthony Begley.
The orphan girls will also be remembered at the Drew University Trans-Atlantic conference in Bundoran on Saturday, January 17. Anthony Begley will deliver a talk entitled “The orphan girls of Ballyshannon” at Bundoran Cineplex Screen 5 during an afternoon session (3-5pm) on Ireland’s past which will feature a number of different contributors.