National Lottery Heritage Fund granted

Liverpool Irish Festival is proud to announce receipt of funding that will revive Liverpool’s historic Irish Famine Trail.

After two years of preparation, the Festival has been awarded National Lottery Heritage Funds to start reviving the city’s historic Irish Famine Trail. In the coming years, the Trail’s restoration will involve local communities. It will provide a significant cultural asset for the city, creating new roles and creative commissions in the process.


Originally erected by the Liverpool Great Hunger Commemoration Committee (and unveiled by Irish President Mary McAleese in 1998), the Trail marks a number of important sites. By presenting these sites of historic interest, the Trail memorialises the migration of 1.3m Irish citizens to Liverpool resulting from the Irish Famine. By restoring information that has fallen into disrepair and bringing the Trail in to the digital world, we ensure these stories are not lost.

The years of the Famine -An Gorta Mór, 1845-52- saw a huge influx of Irish immigrants make their way to the port of Liverpool. The Famine forced whole families to flee to escape the potato blight, starvation and disease; rife in Ireland. Such harrowing experiences went on to inform Home Rule, widening the political divide between Dublin and London.

Often a first port of call on the journey to America, many could not afford the next leg of the journey and settled in Liverpool for life. This incredible influx of Irish citizens had a huge and lasting impact of the city, and on Britain’s wider society.

Looking ahead

In the coming years, Liverpool Irish Festival will restore the eight original sites and seven supporting locations, bringing the trail back to life, improving accessibility, and developing and commissioning artwork, films, signs, song and more to compliment the Trail, which will be accessible from the physical sites and virtually. The revival of the Trail will provide a renewed cultural asset to the city. It will allow communities to engage deeply with this pivotal period in Liverpool’s history. The Festival will use the Trail to promote learning, by using migration, identity, history and community as themes to open discussions and activities.

Developments to look out for

The regeneration of the Trail will develop new roles and creative commissions, to be released as work progresses. Watch out for adverts that will include

  • an History Research Facilitator
  • volunteer researchers
  • a film maker and
  • a photographer, to document the Trail and the process of its revival;
  • plus, community-made projects, accessible at and from Trail sites.

Thanks and appreciation

The Festival would like to thank The National Lottery Heritage Fund for our award and the support and expertise we have received. We are indebted to the Liverpool Great Hunger Commemoration Committee. Their work in the 1990s leaves a legacy on which we will build and their indelible commitment is something we aspire to.

  • To find out more about the Liverpool Irish Famine Trial, visit our Trail page.
  • To view current opportunities and news from the Festival visit our news pages.

Notes to Editors

Founded in 2003, the Festival brings Liverpool and Ireland closer together, using arts and culture. As the most diverse celebration of Irish culture in the UK, we have become a ten-day festival of

  • music and song
  • visual arts
  • performance arts
  • culture, history and identity sharing
  • food and drink
  • talks and tours
  • film.

Previous artists

Key artists to have performed at the festival include Roisin O, Ciaran Lavery, Fearghus O’Conchuir, Terri Hooley, Ailís Ni Rhian, Lisa Hannigan, Jinx Lennon, Orla Guerin and Dennis Connolly and Anne Cleary (2015’s Meta Perceptual Helmets). Liverpool Irish Festival is proud to work with partners across the city and Ireland. Regular partners include

  • Liverpool Irish Centre
  • Irish Community Care
  • Royal Court
  • National Museums Liverpool
  • Liverpool Philharmonic
  • the Irish Embassy
  • Peter Kavanagh’s and The Edinburgh.

The Festival is a proud member of Creative Organisations of Liverpool (COoL), The Baobab Foundation and Irish in Britain.

Our funding

Liverpool Irish Festival receives regular funding from Liverpool City Council’s Cultural Arts Investment Programme and the Irish Government’s Department for Foreign Affairs Emigrant Support Programme. It received Arts Council England’s HM Government Cultural Recovery Funding (2020-21). The Festival’s Liverpool Irish Famine Trail work is funded using National Lottery Heritage Funds.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery.

For images, information and interviews please contact the Festival on [email protected].

To download this as a press release, click here.