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.
The day is hot and the soup has made me thirsty and we fill our water cans as soon as we reach the fine town of Kilcock, which sits on a wide stretch of the canal. The harbour there is busy as men call out to the lock -keeper to open the locks and let their barges pass as they have goods to deliver.
As we walk I feel a strange pity for a group of hungry women and children in mud cabins who hold out their hands to beg from us as we pass by, for my bread is gone and we have absolutely nothing that we can give or share with them.
Landlords and Tenants in Famine Ireland and Kilcock Famine Folklore from the National Folklore Commission's Schools Collection
Professor Mark McGowan (University of Toronto) on the towpath to Kilcock reflecting on landlords and tenants in Famine Ireland:
Also see Kilcock Famine Folklore from the National Folklore Commission’s Schools Collection:
(Bailiúchán na Scol, Imleabhar 0772, Leathanach 011)
John Simmins said he was aged 97 and he remembered the Famine being then but 5 years old. The people of Kilcock used to eat boiled turnips and parsnips. He also said that he met a traveller one day and he went into the house with him. The traveller sat down and asked John Simmin’s mother for a saucepan of water and a spoon. He then removed a blue paper bag from his pocket and he told Mrs. Simmins that it was pollard he got from a farmer who was feeding pigs along the way. He then made porridge out of the pollard and ate it because he was very hungry.
He then said that St. Coca’s well was desecrated buy the Protestants of Kilcock and they called it Tobar na Muc.
The races lasted six days.
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