Ghost Ship & Irish Memorial: What is the connection?

The Delaware River Water Corporation (DRWC) is exhibiting a new large-scale public art installation, Ghost Ship at Race Street Pier until Nov. 3rd,
Wed.– Sun. 7pm.–10pm.

This 90ft long, site-specific Ghost Ship is ‘appearing’ on the river under the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, at Race Street Pier, as a three-dimensional hologram. This will be the North American premiere of the piece by European-based Biangle Studio.

And what does this Ghost Ship have to do with the Irish Memorial you might be asking yourself?

Ghost Ship is complemented by a self-guided audio tour highlighting the history and various narratives of the Delaware River. One of the audio pieces is a letter from the collection of The Curtis Letters which are to be found at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. These are original letters written between 1845-1851 at the height of The Great Hunger in Ireland. The letter chosen for this audio recording is from Hannah Curtis living in County Laois, Ireland, written to her brother John who had immigrated to Philadelphia. The letter is a historical document of its time and a heart-rending picture of the desperation and struggle that gripped and almost destroyed the country at that time.

Narrated by Patricia McElroy and Dermot Mac Cormack of 21XDESIGN who have had a long-standing relationship with The Irish Memorial (including the creation and maintenance of this website). They heard about this exhibit during the planning phase and approached the DRWC to see if the letters would be a suitable fit for the project. Since many ships from Ireland carrying people fleeing The Great Hunger arrived into Philadelphia on the Delaware River, close to this very spot, it was a perfect fit for the overall theme of the project.

The Curtis Letters were discovered by 21XDESIGN while researching material for The Irish Memorial back in 2001. A portion of the letter that’s in the Ghost Ship audio is also featured at the Memorial site on one of the information stations.

The Curtis Letters will be featured on this website so that they may be read in their entirety. Watch this space for these new pages coming soon.