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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.

On reaching Abbeyshrule, with its bridge and large harbour we were all shocked to see so many barges and boats, laden down with grain and sacks of flour, and barrels of porter. No sign of the hunger for some!

‘It would be easy enough to jump on one of them and snatch a small sack or two to eat’ whispered a few of the boys.

‘If Robinson and his men catch you, you will soon regret it’ warned our uncle.

We stayed a night there for everyone was so tired and our feet and legs ached. They gave us water and more oatcakes but we were still hungry.

In a large field near us there were rows and rows of turnips growing but the landlord had a man with a pistol standing over his crop to guard them from a hungry hoard like us. We fell asleep under the stars, Mam and Uncle William taking turns to guard what little belongings we had with us.


Mark McGowan at Abbeyshrule, County Longford, on the harrowing conditions experienced by Strokestown's missing 1,490 emigrants

Mark McGowan (University of Toronto) at Abbeyshrule, County Longford, on the harrowing conditions experienced by Strokestown’s missing 1,490 emigrants:

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