National Famine Walk 2019

The National Famine Way is a digitally and physically waymarked 155km walking trail that connects the National Famine Museum in Strokestown Park, Co. Roscommon, with Rowan Gillespie’s Famine memorial on Custom House Quay in Dublin along the banks of the Royal Canal. It allows walkers to follow in the footsteps of the 1,490 tenants who were forced to emigrate from Strokestown to Canada on some of the worst of the coffin ships during the summer of 1847. Their story and the route of the National Famine Way can be found at

The National Famine Way is being 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, Roscommon and Longford County Councils and EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum.

In May 2017, an international group of famine scholars embarked on a 155km walk over six days along the new National Famine Way. They followed in the footsteps of 1,490 tenants who were forced to emigrate from Major Denis Mahon’s estate at Strokestown. President Michael D. Higgins greeted the walkers and sent them off at a commemorative event at Richmond Harbour, Clondra, Co Longford.

The 2019 National Famine Walk will take place from May 25th to May 30th. The journey of the 1,490 tenants took place in May 1847, or ‘Black 47’, one of the worst years of suffering of the Great Irish Famine. The tenants were escorted by Bailiff Robinson to Dublin to ensure they boarded ships and did not return home. 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.

The Strokestown House and Famine Archive staff have traced some of the descendants of those #Missing1490, but they are trying to find them all to commemorate our Famine heritage. “We are launching an appeal to solve the mystery of the #Missing 1490 by locating the descendants of those who survived this walk and emigrated to Canada and the United States. Go online to to join the search and help us find the #Missing1490,” said Caroilin Callery of Strokestown Park and the National Famine Museum.


“National Famine Walk: ‘Remember your soul and your liberty’” Link to Irish Times article from May 2017 here.