A Polish nobleman who helped 200,000 Irish children survive the Great Famine is being honoured with an exhibition in Dublin. Count Paul Edmund Strzelecki arrived in Co Mayo in 1847 to spearhead a charity’s efforts to save the poor from starvation.
“No pen can describe the distress by which I am surrounded,” he wrote in Westport in March that year. He succeeded in saving huge numbers of children by devising methods of feeding them in their schools in famine-hit regions across Ireland.
An exhibition on the work of Strzelecki during Ireland’s darkest years is taking place at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. The exhibition was created by UCD associate professor Emily Mark-FitzGerald and Queen’s University Belfast history professor Peter Gray.
Dr Mark-FitzGerald told the Sunday Independent: “Strzelecki was a really fascinating individual. There are very few stories of heroism in the famine period. In the way he gave himself in a selfless way, he really stands out.”