Ballinhassig famine survivor Florence Burke is remembered

June 8th, 2017 10:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

The Florence Burke photo.

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By Brian Moore

AN accidental discovery in an attic has revealed a photo of a man from West Cork who surived the famine. 

Four years ago, Ellen Alden discovered an old box in her attic in Andover, Massachusetts. 

When she looked inside she found letters and photographs of her great-great-grand father, Florence Burke who was born in Ballinhassig. 

Florence was 19 when he and his 17-year-old brother John escaped the famine and made their way to America in 1848. 

Florence then went on to fight for the Union during the American Civil War. 

He enlisted as a substitute, a system that allowed the wealthy to pay someone to take their place at the front. In return for his service Florence received farmland for himself and his family. 

Florence’s story and many others will be featured in a new exhibition on the Irish Famine currently taking place in Dublin. 

‘This is an amazing discovery and I am delighted to have this photo and the story of Florence Burke and his brother for our exhibition in Dublin,’ Gerard McCarthy told The Southern Star. 

‘The photo is incredibly rare. It was not an everyday event to have your photo taken in the 1860s and I think the fact that Florence is in military uniform explains this.’

The exhibition takes place on the top floor of The St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre from now until  September 30th. 

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