December 9th, 2008 | by Katie Gilbert News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, CLEAN UP

Why Ireland's President Is Coming To Portland

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Looking for a sure way to duck out from under that spreading recession raincloud?

Think for a second about how wimpy our "severe economic downturn" looks next to the Irish Potato Famine. This weekend, Irish president Mary McAleese will visit Portland to help ensure that references to that 19th century crisis never lose their bite.

On Saturday, Dec. 13 at 11 am, she will dedicate the newly installed Oregon Irish Potato Famine Memorial in an open-to-the-public ceremony at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Southwest Portland.

What does a famine that took place a century and a half ago in Ireland have to do with us? Plenty, apparently, because it pushed a good number of Irish emigrants our way: Of the 2 million people who left Ireland during the famine, so many ended up here that between 1850 and 1880, the Irish were Portland's largest foreign-born group, making up almost 10 percent of the city's population.

McAleese will also visit San Francisco, Los Angeles and Phoenix during her week-long trip to the U.S.
 
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