Every time the 17th March rolls around, the entire world celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. The fa-mous slogan “Everyone’s Irish on Paddy’s Day” rings through the masses on distant shores. However, what made St. Patrick’s Day a global phenomenon? The worldwide fame of the Irish holiday is largely attributed to the Irish diaspora, descendants of Irish immigrants who had settled in far-away lands generations ago. They proudly brought their heritage, culture, and most importantly, their name with them wherever they went.
In the heart of Dublin, by the historic Dublin Docklands which was the start-point from which many Irish people began their emigration journeys, EPIC The Irish Emigration Mu-seum serves to celebrate these emigrants. It honours every individual who left Irish shores to embark on a new chapter of his or her life in a foreign land, their journey, their story and the legacy they carried forward to their children. EPIC was founded in May 2016 and has been voted as Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2019. In just a little over three years, EPIC has brought in thousands of visitors and has clinched a spot in the top 5 attractions in Dublin on TripAdvisor. Irish Diaspora media name it “one of Ireland’s Na-tional Treasures” due to its profoundly meaningful purpose.
EPIC is known for its high-tech interactive, touchscreen-driven exhibitions that make them accessible and engaging to all. Their latest exhibition, opened on October 1st in EP-IC’s Connection Gallery this year, is called “The Power of a Name” and has a dynamic vi-sion. This exhibition commemorates that which is the crux of an individual’s identity and heritage – the name.
This exhibition invites people of Irish descent all over the world to submit their family names and the stories of their forefathers (including the county they were originally from, the year they left Ireland and the countries they went on to live in), which will be dis-played in an interactive screen. This will allow us to visualise the impact of the Irish and the legacy that they spread all over the world. Participation in the exhibition is very user-friendly – those of Irish ancestry can submit their family names and stories through EPIC’s website simply by filling up an online form. The exhibition also gives such individuals a chance to connect with others with a shared heritage.
Today, the Irish diaspora spans over 3 continents, with significant populations residing in the USA and Canada, in Britain, and in Australia and New Zealand. In fact, EPIC also has Genealogists who can help you to uncover their Irish ancestry.
EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum is open 10am-5pm every day and tickets can be pur-chased online or in person.
In my humble writer’s opinion, I am immensely awed at the purpose of EPIC and its exhi-bition. There are very few countries in the world that celebrate their emigrants’ journey, and Ireland has established itself as a cut above the rest by doing so.
Mallika Venkatramani – Arts & Lifestyle Editor