The sesquicentenary commemoration of the Great Irish Famine throughout the world has resulted in displays in several museums. Most relied on the same few contemporary sketches to illustrate the dearth and devastation. In 1847 and 1849 artists from the Illustrated London News travelled to some of the most affected areas, in particular Skibbereen in County Cork and Kilrush in County Clare. One image used extensively in the paper on 22 December 1849 showing a Miss Kennedy distributing clothing at Kilrush.
Who was Miss Kennedy? Why was a warmly dressed youngster standing on the back of a cart surrounded by shadowy hungry waifs with her own protectors hovering in the background? Finding the answer started a hunt which stretched throughout the two hemispheres of the globe and centred on Miss Elizabeth Kennedy's father who during the Great Hunger was the Poor Law Inspector at Kilrush, County Clare.