- Free App on Apple and Android contains audio and video content
- Follows the story of Strokestown’s 1,490 Famine Emigrants and geolocates along the trail
- Brings the National Famine Way to life with 32 touchpoints documenting local histories and stories of the 1,490 emigrants in 1847
- Jim Callery, 86-year-old founder of the National Famine Museum walking the Trail to coincide with launch of App
The Irish Heritage Trust today (23 June 2021) launched a new App for the National Famine Way, the 165km cross country, historical trail from Roscommon to Dublin mostly along the Royal Canal. The free App adds another layer to the National Famine Way experience which also includes the National Famine Way Passport/Guide.
The National Famine Way self-guided Trail commemorates 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. A completion certificate is awarded at the end of the Trail at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, Dublin.
The new App is centred around one of the original famine walkers from Strokestown Park – 12 year-old Daniel Tighe – who remarkably survived the horrific journey to Quebec, Canada. Award-winning author Marita Conlon-McKenna has written vignettes reimagining Daniel’s journey in 1847. Audio recordings on the App are connected to the 32 pairs of bronze children’s shoes interspersed along the route. The App also includes videos at locations along the route by historians and national and international academics and experts on the Great Irish Famine including Cathal Póirtéir, Professor Christine Kinealy (Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, USA) and Professor Mark Mc Gowan (University of Toronto).
Since launching the Passport official pack in 2020, the National Famine Way has garnered national and international media attention, including Condé Nast Traveller and Lonely Planet. John O’Driscoll, General Manager of the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park commented on how the App enriches the National Famine Way experience:
“There has been such enthusiasm and interest in the National Famine Way here at Strokestown Park & The National Famine Museum where participants can collect their official pack including the Passport”. He added, “We are delighted to be now launching this App which slowly unfolds rich local history wrapped in the 165km journey and provides many layers of information, from practical to historical. We would like to thank the Department of Rural and Community Development and Roscommon County Council for their support in partly funding this project”.
To coincide with launch of the App, Mr. Jim Callery – the 86-year-old founder of the National Famine Museum and strategic partner of the Irish Heritage Trust – has been walking the full 165km trail from Strokestown Park to Dublin. Mr. Callery’s daughter Caroilin who is walking with him, said: “While walking in recent days we have been honouring those 1,490 emigrants who were forced off the Strokestown estate in 1847 and appreciating how the National Famine Way has reclaimed the names of our Famine emigrants who were forgotten. As we follow in their footsteps 174 years later, the new National Famine Way App with its rich content certainly deepens this poignant experience and helps one fully appreciate the historical significance and the natural beauty of this trail,” she continued.
The National Famine Way is an accredited 165km Heritage and Arts Trail from Strokestown Park, Co. Roscommon through six counties to Dublin, mostly along the Royal Canal. With its captivating layers of history and culture, the Trail is designed to be accessible for families, schools, casual walkers and cyclists, through to famine and historical enthusiasts. It offers a safe, recreational option available 365 days a year in a self-guided and paced format with signposting and trailheads along the route. The official cycling paths finish at the end of the Royal Canal Greenway in Maynooth. The section from Maynooth to Dublin has stretches that are not suitable for cycling. www.nationalfamineway.ie
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. The App is available on Apple and Android stores.