A ship built to commemorate the Irish emigration to America has finally left port, three years late and at three times the estimated cost. The SS Jeanie Johnston is a replica of a boat that ferried people from Kerry to the U.S. and Canada between 1848 and 1855, during the potato famine. At least 1 million people died when a blight destroyed Ireland’s staple crop of potatoes, and 2 million emigrated, mostly to the U.S. Irish groups in North America wanted to honor their ancestors by sponsoring a commemorative voyage, but the project was plagued by delays, financial mismanagement, and graft, and ended up costing $17 million. The original ship packed in more than 200 passengers on each trip, but the replica is carrying just 39—in considerably more comfort.
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