The National Famine Walk 2019

Following in the footsteps of Strokestown’s missing 1490. 

May 25th to May 30th, 2019


The National Famine Walk will take place over six days from May 25th to May 30th 2019 when an international group of famine walkers will launch the National Famine Way walking trail. They will follow in the footsteps of the 1490 tenants from Denis Mahon’s estate who were forced to emigrate during the summer of 1847. We will walk 167 km from Strokestown and Clondra all the way along the Royal Canal to Spenser Dock, the Jeannie Johnson Famine Ship, and Rowan Gillespie Famine sculptures in Dublin city centre. The event recreates the journey of 1490 tenants from the Mahon estate at Strokestown Park, now the site of the Irish National Famine Museum (, who were escorted by Bailiff Robinson to Dublin to ensure they boarded ship and did not return home. Their journey took place in May 1847 or ‘Black 47’, one of the worst years of suffering of the Great Irish Famine.

The story of the tenants’ fate after they left Dublin is a harrowing one. They travelled on open deck packet steamers to Liverpool where they waited in the cellars of quayside buildings at Liverpool docks to board their ships to Canada. The four ships they boarded – Erin’s Queen, Naomi, The Virginius and The John Munn – were badly fitted out and poorly provisioned. Almost half of those who embarked died aboard ship or in the ‘fever sheds’ at Grosse Isle when they arrived in Quebec. Of course, this was not known to them as they walked along the Royal Canal to Dublin, away from hunger and hoping for a better life.

In 2019, the Strokestown Famine walkers will follow in their footsteps, 172 years after their original journey and blaze a new National Famine Way walking trail along the Royal Canal between Strokestown and Dublin. The Famine walkers’ journey can be followed in real time at  We are inviting local people to join us for stretches of the journey between May 25th and May 30th. So why not walk awhile with us, for a short or long stretch. Or become an official Walker by registering on keep an eye on the Website for registration to open or browse the wonderful resource that it is with lots from the 2017 Pilot Walk. Or come welcome us at our May 30th arrival at Custom House Quay and join us in EPIC afterwards for the official Launch of the National Famine Way Trail

We would be delighted to have you as part of this event.


Events Itinerary and Walking Plan
Fri 24th – 8.00pm ‘Canadian Wake’ at Percy French hotel in Strokestown. All welcome.
Sat 25th May – 10.00pm Strokestown to Clondra 22km
Sun 26th May – 9.30am Clondra – Abbeyshrule 30km
Mon 27th May – 9.30am Abbeyshrule – Mullingar 27km
Tue 28th May – 9.30am Mullingar – Longwood 30km
Wed 29th May – 9.30am Longwood – Maynooth 27km
Thur 30th May – 9.30am Maynooth – Dublin 27km


Join us in EPIC afterwards for the official Launch of the National Famine Way Trail – 5 pm

For more information or media inquiries, contact: