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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 were all feeling better after the music and a nights rest and John and I and a few of the boys ran on ahead. We could see frog spawn at the water’s edge and soon heard a croaking in the rushes as we searched for frogs.

‘Daniel there’s two frogs.’ shouted John excited as we bent down at the water’s edge to try and catch one.

‘There’s another.’ shouted Pat Connor.

Owen Reynolds knelt at the water edge to try and reach one of them as it hopped on to a mossy stone.

I was trying to beat him to it, when suddenly I felt my foot slip in my new shoes and I stumbled into the cold water. Luckily it was shallow there near the rushes and all the boys laughed and teased me as I sat up and the water dripped off me.

‘What are you up to Daniel?’ smiled my uncle coming up to me, and seeing the wet state that I was in.

‘I took a swim in the canal.’ I grinned pulling off my wet jacket.

‘Don’t’ let the bailiff and his men see you like that’ he warned passing me a bit of blanket to quickly dry myself with. ‘Stay hidden and walk in the middle.’

I was barely dry when it began to rain. The sky black and dark as it poured down on us.

The mood was quiet and sombre now as the 1,490 marched on.


Ruth Illingworth on emigration from the midlands and the Mullingar Workhouse during the Famine

Local historian Ruth Illingworth on emigration from the midlands and the Mullingar Workhouse during the Famine:

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