THE Liverpool Irish Festival (LIF) has launched a contest to find a fitting song that will mark the legacy of the Irish Famine in the city.
Songwriters are being asked to submit their ideas for a tune which will honour the lives lost or impacted by the period known as the Great Famine or An Gorta Mór.
Between 1845-52 mass starvation and disease caused by the potato blight killed more than one million people in Ireland and forced the emigration of at least a million more.
Many of those emigrants took the boat to Liverpool, where an Irish Famine Trail, originally built by Liverpool’s Great Hunger Commemoration Committee in the late 1990s, tells their stories.
Since 2021, LIF, who now have responsibility for the trail, have been working hard to develop it.
Last year, funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund allowed them to begin regenerating the trail.
Since then, they have published a book and produced a map to accompany the trail.
This month LIF announced their latest trail-related project is to commission a song that commemorates the Famine and its Liverpool connections.
“As custodians of the Liverpool Irish Famine Trail, we are pleased to announce this open call for a song to commemorate the Great Famine/an Gorta Mór,” they said.
“The remit is for a song that can be sung by school children, choirs and Comhaltas groups across the country to honour those who died or whose lives were irrevocably changed as a result of this bleak period in Irish history,” they explained.
The LIF highlights the “1.3million people that travelled to and through Liverpool, before moving across the globe”, as well as those that died because of the Famine and “the legacy of those that survived, continued life and rebuilt in host communities, including 300,000 Irish in Liverpool” as themes that could be explored in the song.
“We would prefer for the song to be areligious and accessible, with opportunity for it to be sung solo and by groups,” they add.
The LIF is asking creatives to submit their song ideas – not completed work – in an email of no more than 500 words to them by 9am on Monday, March 4.
The winning submission will receive £1000 to complete the song.
Full details on the open call, which is being supported by funding by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, can be found here.