An Droim Deileoir (the barren ridge) is the location of Seosamh Mac Grianna’s classic short story of the Great Famine, ‘Ar an Trá Fholamh’ (On the Empty Shore). The fictional place name is a metaphor for the very crisis that was central to the making of modern Ireland, its society and economy, politics and culture. The concern here is language. The Great Famine accelerated the decline of the Irish language, and it left its mark on oral and print culture. More immediately, this mortality crisis precipitated a crisis of representation. How do you describe what you have seen? And language shaped how the hungry and diseased themselves understood and expressed their suffering. This bilingual conference assembles scholars from Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States to discuss the Great Famine and Language from a range of disciplinary perspectives. The keynote speakers are economist Cormac Ó Gráda, a leading authority on famine, and critic Terry Eagleton.