3rd September, 2010 - The deportation of over 25,000 convict women from Ireland during the 19th Century will be commemorated on board the Tall Ship Jeanie Johnston on Saturday 4th September at 2pm.

Australian artist, Christina Henri, who is affiliated with the University of Tasmania, set up the Roses from the Heart project in 2003 and under her guidance over 15,000 bonnets, typical of those worn by the women of the time have been made. Each bonnet carries the name of an individual woman as well as the name of the ship she was transported on and the intention is to continue until every one of the recorded 25,566 women transported between 1790 and 1860 are commemorated.

In attendance with Christina, will be singer and songwriter, Pete St John, author if "The Fields of Athenry". The well known song refers to a ficticious convict named Michael who was sent to Botany Bay in Australia.

More recently, Pete has written a sequel to the song called "Bells of Ireland" about a real convict named Mary Walsh from Clonmel in Tipperary who was sent to Hobart in Tasmania in 1842. She had been charged and convicted of stealing cashmere from a local shop in December 1841, a crime she vehemently denied.

Her story was brought back into focus by the discovery of a heartfelt letter written by her husband, James Walsh, in which he expresses his love for his wife and his hope that they would be someday reunited. It is thought she never received the letter which still survives to this day and is on display in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

The original Jeanie Johnston, of which the present day ship is an accurate replica, sailed between Ireland and the ‘New World' of North America between 1848 and 1855 carrying Irish Emigrants on a journey of hope and desperation as they escaped from the ravages of famine in Ireland. The ship is very similar to the ship, called ‘Hope', on which Mary Walsh sailed in 1842.

"My hope is that my song will jog the memory of a present day relative of Mary Walsh so as to be able to establish what happened to her all those years ago. I dedicate the song to their memory in any event" commented Pete during his visit to the ship.

The Jeanie Johnston is owned by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority and moored at Custom House Quay in the Docklands. The ship is open daily for guided tours daily.  

Phone 01 4730111 or contact for further details.


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