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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

We meet more people on the path travelling like us to Leixlip and Louisa Bridge, where there is a Holy Well and Spa.

I never saw the like of it for there is an aqueduct and waterfall and a well where the warm water comes from the ground and people go down to bathe and splash the water on them to cure their ailments. Hawkers sell bottles of water, rags and trinkets.

We waste no money on those.

Mr Robinson ordered us not to stop at the spa but mother took John down to the water with her, for she fears that my brother is sick.

There is a rumour since we left Strokestown that one of the Familes is carrying the Cholera – everyone is scared of the disease that has carried off so many back home. Sure it’s a big part of what we are fleeing from.

Soon there are women and children and old Mrs Cox and Mrs Connors and poor Mr Farrell who is lame, people making their way there to bathe and there was nothing the bailiff and his men could do about it, though they threaten to send Mr Farrell and those that that cannot walk any further to the workhouse in Celbridge.

Leixlip Famine Folklore from the National Famine Folklore's Schools Commission

Famine Times

(The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0773, Page 242)

“Famine Times” In the Autumn of 1846 and again in 47 a blight came on the entire potato crop of Ireland thus causing the dreadful famine. The year is spoken of to day as “Black 47”.

The potatoes rotted in the pits. What misery must it have been, for in those days the people lived solely on potatoes. Here and there at Government depots people were provided with a very small amount of maize or Indian meal.

The Government made a relief plan to provide work for the destitute. They built bridges and other monuments. In this locality a short distance from Maynooth can be seen a mighty tower it is known as the Obelisk. It was built during that disastrous period.

This was told to me by my father. Thomas Cox. Station Road Leixlip 17th October 1938.

Also see Cathal Póirtéir at Leixlip Spa on Holy Wells and illness in Famine Ireland:

Amenities

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