Day 6 Maynooth – Dublin c. 27km. Marita Conlon-McKenna on the Famine Way Walkers- Remembering The Great Famine

At the end of the National Famine Walk in 2017, the renowned author of The Hawthorn Tree Marita Conlon-McKenna reflected on their journey.  In her own words: Well done to The National Famine Way Walkers led by Caroilin Callery who completed their 165km long journey from Strokestown Park House to Dublin’s Eden Quay on Thursday 1st June. They were walking to commemorate the 1,490 evicted tenants of Strokestown Park House, who were being sent by their landlord on assisted passage to Canada in late May 1847. These men, women and children led by the bailiff and his men followed...

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Day 6 Maynooth – Dublin c.27km. Marita Conlon-McKenna on the Long, Weary Walk to Dublin

(photo from http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/exhibition/dublin/waters/L_CustomHouse_lcab2.html)   The arrival of one thousand, four hundred and ninety exhausted men, women and so many young children with their feet blistered and sore into Dublin City in early summer must have caused utter consternation.   As the army of evicted families and tenants from Strokestown Park House walked up slowly up the Dublin Quays with the Bailiff ordering them on roughly, the sight of such human misery must have provoked a huge reaction and even fear for this was literally a village or small town on the move. Dublin in some parts showed very little signs...

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Day 4 Mullingar-Longwood c.30km. Marita Conlon-McKenna on Canal Boats and Barges

When walking along the National Famine Way on the Royal Canal towards Longwood, County Meath, it is hard to imagine how the original 1,490 men, women and children must have felt as canal boats and barges passed them by, laden with barrels of porter and tons of grain and cereals and other provisions for the towns along the way and to the local breweries and distilleries that thrived even during The Great Famine. Daniel O’Connell -The ageing Liberator, had stood up in the House of Commons in February 1847 -only three months earlier- and begged that drastic action be taken to...

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Day 4 Mullingar-Longwood c.30km. Marita Conlon-McKenna on the Mullingar Workhouse

Mullingar was badly hit during the Great Irish Famine. The Mullingar Workhouse was opened in December in 1842 and was able to hold 900 people. However with the arrival of the Great Famine its numbers swelled as the masses of hungry, starving and sick all sought refuge there. Sleeping galleries had to be constructed to try and cope with the overcrowding. With the outbreak of fever in the town and district the board had to open a 60 bed Fever Hospital on the north side of the workhouse. The conditions would have been terrible but for those that were...

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Day 1 Strokestown – Clondra, c. 20km. Marita Conlon-McKenna’s Thoughts from The Canadian Wake Event (2017)

 A Canadian Wake with music and story that was held in The Percy French Hotel in Strokestown to say farewell and to mark, as in olden days, the leaving of a group emigrants. The renowned author Marita Conlon-McKenna reflected on their departure.  In her own words: I found it strangely emotional to watch The Famine Way Walkers set off in the pouring rain yesterday on their long 155km walk from Richmond Harbour in Cloondara, County Longford to Dublin’s Eden Quay . The walkers include a number of Great  Irish Famine academics and experts who are walking along The Royal ...

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