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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 wet and miserable by the time we came to Killucan and another big harbour called Thomastown.

Here there are more boats and barges and a public house where the sailors and locals had a pint of porter as they watch our huge caravan from Strokestown pass them.

Four barges are moored near us and they are laden with food and unguarded.

The temptation is too much and suddenly three older boys of sixteen, jump onto the deck of a barge, and manage to grab a sack of oats and a round of cheese and some eggs and take off.

We all stay quiet and say nothing hoping that the Bailiff and his men have not noticed.

‘Thief’ ‘Thief’ shouts the red faced barge man.

Immediately, Bailiff Robinson and three of his men chase after them. They return the oats to the man but the eggs and cheese have already disappeared and as he waves his stick at them he tells them it will be ‘the road or the work house’ for them if they steal again.



Ruth Illingworth on the Church of Ireland Reverend Henry Ferris who gave his life caring for Famine victims

Local historian Ruth Illingworth on the Church of Ireland Reverend Henry Ferris who gave his life caring for Famine victims in Killucan, County Westmeath:

Also see John McKeown (Eastern Regional Manager, Waterways Ireland) on the National Famine Way along the Royal Canal:


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