This New 100-mile Hiking Trail in Ireland Comes With a Remarkable History Lesson

Visitors to Ireland can now walk along its new 102-mile path that traces the ill-fated journey of emigrants during the 1847 famine.

In September, the country launched the National Famine Way, which follows the footsteps of 1,490 emigrants who walked from Strokestown, Co Roscommon, to Dublin, hoping to escape the famine. It now doubles as both a live history lesson as well as a hiking and cycling trail.

Bronzed shoes on the Irish Famine Trail
Courtesy of Irish Heritage Trust

″The National Famine Way can be done by anyone, at any time, on foot or by bike,″ Caroilin Callery, representative of the Irish Heritage Trust and National Famine Museum, shared with the Independent.

As the Independent further explained, the trail follows the path of the 1,490 people who left Strokestown and joined ″some of the worst coffin ships" on their way to Liverpool and onward to Quebec, Canada. Only half of those who started the journey ended it alive.

Walking along the National Famine Way near Royal Canal in Ireland
Courtesy of Irish Heritage Trust

Along the trail, walkers and cyclists can download the OSI Trail Map, which comes with interactive history lessons along the way. There is also a 14-page passport and guide available for €10. The passport comes with 27 stage stamps hikers can collect along the trail. According to Irish Central, those who complete the hike and collect all 27 stamps will be awarded a completion certificate at The Irish Emigration Museum.

Irish Famine Way map
Courtesy of Irish Heritage Trust

″We are delighted that we are now offering a Passport/Guide and OSI Trail Map to accompany this thought-provoking Trail where the #Missing1490 embarked on their journey,″ John O’Driscoll, General Manager of the National Famine Museum, shared with Irish Central. ″Walkers/cyclists are also given a ship ticket and information on one family whose footsteps they will follow, making the Trail especially evocative. As the Trail is over 165km (103 miles) long, we envisage that many walkers and cyclists will wish to complete sections of the trail over time."

See more about the entire hike and available history packages on the trail’s website now.

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