A formal State ceremony to commemorate the Famine took place today in Murrisk, Co Mayo.

National Famine Commeration Day remembered the millions of people who died or were forced to emigrate in the mid-1800s.

The Famine, which was caused by widespread failure of the potato crop in 1845, changed Irish society forever.

The country's population fell by a quarter, as around 1m people died of starvation and 1m emigrated.

The West, and Mayo in particular, was one of the worst affected areas.

Churches and national sporting fixtures also marked the day with prayers and a minute's silence.

This is the second year that the Famine will be commemorated on a national level.

With millions of starving people all over the world today, Irish Catholic Bishops have reminded the Government of its commitment to reduce by half the number of people living in hunger, as part of the UN Millennium Development Goals.