(photo from http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/exhibition/dublin/waters/L_CustomHouse_lcab2.html)
The arrival of one thousand, four hundred and ninety exhausted men, women and so many young
children with their feet blistered and sore into Dublin City in early summer must have caused utter
As the army of evicted families and tenants from Strokestown Park House walked up slowly up the
Dublin Quays with the Bailiff ordering them on roughly, the sight of such human misery must have
provoked a huge reaction and even fear for this was literally a village or small town on the move.
Dublin in some parts showed very little signs of the great calamity that had befallen the rest of the
country. The city streets, shops, theatres and music rooms were filled with rural gentry and
landowners who had flocked to the city to escape from the grim reality of what was happening not
only to their own tenants but to the poor people around them.
Small groups from around the countryside had made their way to Dublin fleeing the famine, many of
them desperate to gain passage to Liverpool, Canada and America. Others, in desperation, had
thronged into Dublin’s crowded workhouses.
So the arrival of the 1,490 tenants from Strokestown was the largest movement of people into the
city during all the years of the Great Famine.
However, for the tenants of Denis Mahon there was no rest after their long walk for they had to
begin another journey by sea. This journey would claim so many of their lives as they took passage
to Grosse Isle in Canada.
Today’s Famine Way Walkers, as they too arrive in Dublin, have followed in their footsteps, all the
way from Strokestown Park House to Dublin’s Quays, have truly honoured the memory and the
courage of each of those 1,490 men, women and children.
Dr Jason King is academic coordinator for the Irish Heritage Trust. He has previously taught at NUI Galway, the University of Limerick, the Université de Montréal, Concordia University, NUI Maynooth, and NUI Cork.
He specializes in Great Irish Famine digital content: