“Commemorating the poignant ill-fated journey of 1,490 famine emigrants in 1847”
The National Famine Way is Ireland’s latest accredited 165km national heritage trail walk from Roscommon to Dublin which was launched in May 2019, commemorating the poignant 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.
This new waymarked National Famine Way (www.nationalfamineway.ie) is now open for everyone, along rural Roscommon roads and the beautifully evocative Royal Canal through counties Longford, Westmeath, Meath, Kildare and arriving in Dublin.
The National Famine Way is topped and tailed by two iconic museums – The National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park (Roscommon) and EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum / Jeanie Johnston Replica Famine Ship (Dublin), adding depth and integrity to this evocative trail. Approximately thirty pairs of interactive bronze 19th-century children’s shoe sculptures set on plinths are interspersed along the route.
“A thought-provoking trail”
This thought-provoking trail is part of an outreach programme from the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park, which brings the story of the Great Famine out from behind the Famine Museum walls and aims to reconnect people with their history in an innovative way from west to east.
The National Famine Way is an integrated inter County collaboration between Waterways Ireland and county councils along the route: Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Meath, Kildare, Fingal and Dublin. It has been developed by Strokestown Park House, the National Famine Museum, and the Irish Heritage Trust in partnership with Waterways Ireland, the ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology, and EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum.
In May 2019, a group of famine walkers including international Famine experts arrived at the Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship and EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum, where singer-songwriter Declan O’Rourke (Chronicles of the Great Irish Famine Album) launched the National Famine Way.
Walkers included Cathal Póirtéir (writer, broadcaster and former RTÉ Radio1 journalist,) Professor Mark McGowan (University of Toronto, Death or Canada Docudrama) and Dr. Christine Kinealy (Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, USA).
“Walking in the footsteps of our missing Strokestown 1,490”
Caroilin Callery of the National Famine Museum said that the walkers were delighted with the support along the route, including many schools and local communities. “In walking in the footsteps of our missing Strokestown 1,490, we hope to honour their legacy and spread the word as we continue to work to trace some of the descendants of those who survived this walk and emigrated to Canada and the United States. Go online to www.nationalfamineway.ie to join the search and help us find the #Missing1490,” continued Ms. Callery.
“National Famine Walk: ‘Remember your soul and your liberty’” Link to Irish Times article from May 2017 here.