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An adventurous 165 km cross country trail that follows the Royal Canal as it weaves through country lanes, villages, towns and city – can be done in sections over time or all at once – as you choose. Follow the story of Strokestown’s Famine Emigrants as our interactive bronze shoe sculptures creates a thought provoking experience, on this commemorative cross country walk. The trail is topped and tailed by two iconic museums – “The National Famine Museum” at Strokestown Park and “The Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship” / “ EPIC – Irish Emigration Museum” at the Dublin end.

SHOE STORIES - Daniel’s Story – Black ‘47

My name is Daniel Tighe / Tye, I am 12 years old, in May 1847 the worst year of the Great Irish Famine, I walked this path from Strokestown to Dublin heading for a Ship and in hope of a new life in North America. Follow in the footsteps of my story through the 30 pairs of Bronze Shoes along the National Famine Way.

At last we are in Dublin, Broome Bridge, in Cabra, then on to Westmoreland Bridge, where the ships and barges gather at the lock, near the huge North City Flour Mills and the railway bridge.

Along the way, we have a clear view of Glasnevin Graveyard and can see burials in what looks like a Pauper’s grave section – ‘from the Workhouse no doubt’ I hear someone mutter.

Our hearts sink as we near the huge North Dublin Union Workhouse, a few poor souls in rags in a terrible state gathered there pleading and begging for admittance for them and their small children.

So much for rumours the Dublin has escaped the blight, disease and death – it doesn’t seem so to me.

We can hear their cries and get the heavy sour stench of it, even from a distance. I am so glad that mother made us take this journey instead of ending our days in such a place.

The Adults then start to talk yet again about Daniel O Connell and I hear them repeat his final request to his Doctor Fr Miley for the umpteenth time, his parting words: “My body to Ireland, my heart to Rome, and my soul to heaven.”

The sadness that had gripped everybody since his passing in Genoa on May 15 th fascinated me, I had seen many grown men with teary eye.

‘He’ll be for burial yonder in Glasnevin Graveyard, when they finally get him home from Genoa. God rest his Soul’ Uncle William, blessing himself.

‘We’ll be long gone by that happens’ sighs Mam ‘what hope has our poor Country now ?’

The group falls into silence and walks on.

Christine Kinealy on Daniel O'Connell's Legacy at Glasnevin

Professor Christine Kinealy (Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University) near Glasnevin Cemetery on the National Famine Way reflecting on the legacy of Daniel O’Connell during the Famine:


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