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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.

It is evening by the time we reach Maynooth with its wide harbour. We wash and bath our blistered and swollen feet in the water. It feels good. Some priests from the big college St Patrick’s come down to find out where such an enormous group of us are going. They give us their blessing.

We lie down on the grass and hard ground and rest for the night rubbing our weary legs and feet. Mam is so tired that she falls asleep. Uncle William is too tired to talk for he has had to carry John much of the way.

Some kind people from the town give us some bread and ask about our long journey

By sunrise it is drizzling with rain. Catherine is hot and says that her head and feet hurt and she’ll not walk any more. John is hungry and cries a lot. Mother cajoles my little sister to get back on her feet and I carry John for a while to give mother a rest.

Professor Mark McGowan on the Famine and Religion at Maynooth


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