The Killiney Obelisk, located in a stunning location on Killiney Hill, commemorates a sad event in Ireland’s history. It was commissioned by John Malpas (a wealthy Catholic who had previously owned this land) in response to the famine of 1740 and 1741. This ‘forgotten famine’ was caused by an incredibly cold winter that was followed by severe floods that destroyed livestock and crops. Reports say that it was so cold in Dublin that small vessels were destroyed by icebergs on the River Liffey and towns and cities were plunged into darkness as the street lamps could not be lit. Food riots were also common and sickness broke out throughout the country. Famine relief projects were organized by philanthropists like John Malpas and Kathryn Connolly who’s follies gave employment to destitute families. The year 1741 became known as ‘the year of the slaughter’ among the Irish.

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