STUDENTS from Pobalscoil Inbhear Scéine have captured the spirit of the upcoming Kenmare Gangs of New York Festival with an art exhibition highlighting the theme of the festival, 'Triumph over Adversity'.
Sponsored by Patrick O'Toole of PLM Architects, their images depict the 5,000 famine emigrants who left and lived in New York's toughest slums in the 19th century.
Led by Joe Thoma, fifth year students at the school developed a series of paintings for the exhibition which will launch the festival at 7.30pm on Friday, August 30, in the Carnegie Arts Centre, Kenmare.
Highlighting the plight of Kenmare emigrants who ended up living in the Five Points area of New York, the festival takes the form of historical lectures, documentary screenings, walking tours and more. It has also commissioned important genealogical work which will make it easier for the descendants to trace their roots back to areas they left 160 years ago.
Prior to the festival proper, events will kick off on Friday, August 23, with the naming of New York Street in Kenmare followed by an underage football exhibition with visiting New York GAA club Shannon Gaels.
The 'Gangs of New York' festival is centred on the Lansdowne estate in the town and the fascinating story behind the assisted/forced emigration of thousands of people shortly after the famine from it.
It aims to identify the living relatives of the emigrants who were forced to leave for New York and invite them home to find out about their heritage and tell the story of the time when their families left Kenmare.
Many of the Kenmare emigrants ended up living in the Five Points area of New York on Manhattan's lower east side, a scene depicted in the 2002 Martin Scorcese movie 'Gangs of New York' staring Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio.
One of the most famous people of this lineage was Congressman Big Tim Sullivan, whose parents were Lansdowne tenants - he succeeded in naming a street in Manhattan, Kenmare Street in honour of his mother.