Follow in the footsteps of 1,490 people, who walked the 165km route from Strokestown Park Estate to Custom House Quay in Dublin, along the National Famine Way, a new interactive historic trail including an official Passport/Guide and OSI Map. This Heritage and Arts Trail is an accredited Trail from Strokestown Park, Co. Roscommon through six counties to Dublin, mostly through countryside along the Royal Canal on flat and well-surfaced paths.
The National Famine Way is a self-guided Trail detailing the ill-fated journey of 1,490 famine emigrants who walked from Strokestown Park to ships in Dublin in 1847, at the height of the Irish Famine. With its captivating layers of history and culture, the Trail will give you a truly immersive experience. It is centred around the walk of twelve-year-old Daniel Tighe - one of the original famine walkers from Strokestown Park - who remarkably survived the horrific journey to Quebec in Canada in 1847. Daniel’s journey is reimagined in vignettes written by award-winning author Marita Conlon-McKenna. These are connected to over thirty pairs of 19th-century bronze children’s shoes interspersed along the route which create a thought-provoking experience.
Walkers/Cyclists are invited to become an Officially Registered Participant by obtaining the new Passport/Guide, personalised Ship Ticket and Certificate of Completion. Whether you’re a casual walker, cyclist, historical enthusiast, or out for the day with your family, enjoy the trail at your own pace. This is a safe, recreational option available all year round with signposting and trailheads along the route and can be done in sections or all at once.
The Passport/Guide provides a wealth of information from orientation with an OSI map, highlighting local history, cultural landmarks and amenities along the route. These are broken down into distinct sections from 1km to 15km, through Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Meath, Kildare, Fingal, ending in Dublin City Centre. You can track your progress on the Passport with 27 stage stamps. A completion certificate to mark your achievement is awarded at the end of the Trail at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, Dublin. The Passport also entitles you to discounts in a number of Museums along the route.
A National Famine Way Audio App is currently being developed where you can also learn all about the fascinating local history in each county. You can listen to young Daniel Tighe telling his story from “Black ’47” which reimagines each of the spaces and locations he passed through as they were in May 1847.
The National Famine Way is an integrated County collaboration between The Irish Heritage Trust, The National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park, Waterways Ireland and the seven County Councils from Roscommon to Dublin.
PAST COMMEMORATIVE WALKS
The 2019 Commemorative Walk led by Caroilin Callery of Strokestown Park included a number of national and international academics and world experts on the Great Irish Famine including Prof Christine Kinealy - (Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University), Prof Mark Mc Gowan (University of Toronto) Cathal Poirteir (renowned Irish Folklorist & formerly of RTE), Dr Jason King (Irish Heritage Trust) and Anthony Russell (retired).
The series of videos below captured many fascinating insights at key locations along the route with the above experts and many others with deep knowledge about this tragic era. You can see further information on these Walks under the Commemorative Walks tab above.
After an overnight stay in Maynooth University, walkers set off on their final day of the 2017 National Famine Way, travelling another 27km from Maynooth to their final stop at the Famine Sculpture in Dublin City Centre. The group was joined along the way by some friendly walker/waders (see below left),
The penultimate day of the 2017 National Famine Walk saw the international group continue on the next 27km of their journey from Longwood to Maynooth. With a grey sky in the background, the rain held off as walkers stopped along the way at Enfield and Kilcock Harbour .
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