Let’s start at the Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum on Hamden’s Quinnipiac University campus. The collection moves you to reflect on the potato blight that devastated Ireland from 1845 to 1852, resulting in the deaths of a million and the emigration of 2 million more, largely due to British government indifference. The story is told through sculpture and paintings, from 19th-century through contemporary works, and it’s an eye-opener/consciousness raiser.
Grand European Tour
Connecticut’s long history is made up of many influences, including most of the European cultures. Whether it’s in art, architecture, food or fashion, the state still retains its connections with England, France, Italy, Ireland and many other European countries.
Next, it’s off to New Haven and the stunning Yale University Art Gallery, where many European Masters get their due. You’ll find representative works from Italian, Dutch, Spanish and French painters, among the many other riches.
By now you’re no doubt feeling hunger pangs, and fortunately, you’re not far from famed Wooster Street, New Haven’s Little Italy. You can’t go wrong here, whether it’s pizza at Pepe’s, Sally’s or Abate’s, or white-tablecloth fare at Consiglio’s or Tre Scalini. Wherever you dine, the street invites walking around, so once you’re done, walk around . . . then indulge in a lemon ice at Libby’s.
Next day, keep the European fling vibe alive by heading to Bridgeport’s Housatonic Museum of Art, housed on the Housatonic Community College campus. There, you’ll find works by master artists such as Rodin, Picasso, Matisse, Miro and Chagall. Keep an eye out for lectures, programs and changing exhibitions in the Burt Chernow Galleries - they’re normally open to the community at large.