Liverpool Irish Famine Trail

As custodians of Liverpool Irish Famine Trail, this year team members walked from The National Famine Museum, Strokestown in Roscommon to Dublin’s Docklands.

The walk commemorates the 1847 journey taken by 1,490 evictees from Strokestown Estate (Co. Roscommon, Ireland).  The evictees were marched 165km to Dublin, to be put on cargo ships to Liverpool and thence to Canada. It’s estimated over half those who made the journey died before they reached their destination.

A shared path

The Festival’s Artistic Director and CEO, Emma Smith, walked with History Research Group leader, John Maguire. They were joined by Liverpool Great Hunger Commemoration Committee member (and local historian) Greg Quiery and members of the National Famine Way and Strokestown Estate teams. The walk by led by Ireland’s Ambassador to Canada, Dr. Eamonn McKee, with approx. 20 walkers. The Liverpool team carried a pair of bronze commemorative shoes along the route to Dublin. The shoes then crossed the Irish Sea to Liverpool, before being taken to the Liverpool Irish Famine Memorial.

Once the shoes arrived in Liverpool, they were carried from Clarence Dock — where 1.3m Irish migrants arrived during An Gorta Mór — to the Irish Famine Memorial at St Luke’s Church. The shoes will remain in Liverpool as a poignant symbol of the shared history of Liverpool and Ireland, a history both devastating and enriching. Later in the year, during the Liverpool Irish Famine Memorial in October, Ireland’s UK Ambassador, Martin Fraser, and Consul General Sarah Mangan, will repeat the Clarence Dock toSt Luke’s Churchwalk.


The journey from Strokestown to Liverpool will be a fundraiser for Liverpool Irish Famine Trail. Via Just Giving here. We hope that you can partake in this act of remembrance and thank you in advance for your gift.

Commemorating a Shared History

The Great Hunger/An Gorta Mór caused more than a million deaths between 1845-52. Another 1.3 people migrated, a migration which continued to flow for decades afterwards. Many of these Irish people would have travelled via Liverpool. Deaths from hunger and disease were common on the so-called coffin ships, transporting the fleeing population mainly to North America and Australia. The same is true of the boats travelling the relatively short distance from Ireland to the coast of Britain. Of course, large numbers of migrants chose to stay, or for a variety of reasons were forced to stay, in Liverpool. By 1851 over 25% of the city’s population was Irish born. Ireland is still the only country in Western Europe where the population today is smaller than it was in 1840. Meanwhile it is estimated that approximately 50%+ of the current Liverpool population has some Irish ancestry.

Our Home

Commissioned in 2021, ‘Our Home’ ((c) Ella Dalton and Thomas Jones) is a short film documenting the sites of the Liverpool Irish Famine Trail. Set to the Festival’s theme song, and told through the eyes of a young mother and child, viewers come to learn a little of the landscape they faced then and what this looks like today. The film was funded with National Lottery Heritage Fund funding and commissioned through an open call led by the Liverpool Irish Festival.

Going Forward

– Song commission winning entry to be shared with Choirs over summer. They will sing it at the 2024 Liverpool Irish Famine Memorialevent on Sun, 27th Oct 2023

– An app (or alternative technological equivalent) will be developed and released to test in winter

– A book will be written and release

– An exhibition will be held at Collingwood Dock, showing work from four artists and featuring the bronze shoes

– A public walk from Clarence Dock Gates, with the bronze shoes, will take place on Sun 27 Oct 2024.

For further details: visit their website.

Global Irish Famine Way

The commemorative walk was also used to launch the Global Irish Famine Way in Ireland. It was launched in Canada in May 2024 and will be launched in Liverpool in October 2024.

Photograph: Portal in Dublin, symbolically linking Ireland and US at the end of the commemoraive walk.