A new interactive outdoor experience the National Famine Way, was launched on Thursday last by the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park with the establishing of a unique National Famine Way Passport/Guide and OSI Trail Map.
The 14-page National Famine Way Passport/Guide highlights local historical landmarks and allows walkers and cyclists to record their progress with 7 of the 27 stage stamps in Longford along the specially developed route.
The Trail details 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.
Passing through Longford including Richmond Harbour Clondra, Brannigan Harbour and Abbeyshrule amongst others, the National Famine Way is an accredited 165km Heritage and Arts Trail from Strokestown Park, 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 new Passport/Guide is centred around the walk of one of the original famine walkers from Strokestown Park - 12 year-old Daniel Tighe - who remarkably survived the horrific journey to Quebec, Canada on one of the worst famine ships.
Award-winning author Marita Conlon-McKenna has written vignettes reimagining Daniel’s journey in 1847 and connected to over thirty pairs of bronze children’s shoes interspersed along the route. These audio recordings are available to listen to online at www.nationalfamineway.ie
The National Famine Way is an integrated County collaboration between the National Famine Museum, Waterways Ireland and County Councils along the route. The Passport/Guide explains the historical and cultural landmarks, broken down into distinct sections from 1km to 15km, through Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Meath, Kildare, Fingal, ending in Dublin City Centre
Commenting on the impact the walk will have for walkers and cyclists in Longford Paddy Mahon, Longford County Council CE said, “Longford County Council is delighted to be associated with the launch of the National Famine Way along the Royal Canal Greenway passing through Longford.
We look forward to welcoming the many visitors who will pass through our county as they commemorate the 1490 emigrants who passed this way on their “assisted passage” to the coffin ships that awaited them on their journey to Canada in the time of the famine.”