Annual Famine Walk 2013

This year students from the Holy Family National School in Killeen took part in the Famine remembrance celebrations at Delphi Lodge. The students created their own visions of what a famine cottage looked like using charcoal. They also created Acrostic poetry on what they thought the famine meant.

On 18th of May, 2013 some of these students along with many people from around Ireland assembled in Louisburgh and walked to Delphi Lodge following the route of the original journey of March 30th/31st 1849. Traditionally the walk started at Delphi and made its way back to Louisburgh and was known as “the death march”.

It was the result of the two commissioners, Colonel Hogrove and Captin Primrose, who arrived in Louisburgh to certify as paupers the people who had gathered to meet them, which would entitle them to a small ration of meal each. Several hundred people assembled in Louisburgh but the commissioners failed to appear, having decided to see the people in Delphi Lodge instead. The people set out on their 11 mile walk along mountain road and pathway in driving snow and bitter cold. When they finally did manage to meet the commissioners they were refused either food or tickets of admission to the workhouse and so they began their weary dispirited return journey. Many died along the way and many were buried where they fell.

On this year’s walk people carried posters with them with the names of those definitely known to have died on the same route in 1849 – Catherine Grady, Mary McHale, James Flynn, Mrs. Dalton and her son and daughter and the Dillon family – as well as the names of people who have died in modern famines throughout the world.

Once the walkers reached the gates of Delphi Lodge Michael Wade (Manager of the Lodge) opened the gates and welcomed the walkers into the Lodge. Symbols of life, a tree and potatoes, were then planted. This solemn act of respect and remembrance for all who died of poverty and hunger in Ireland helps us remember those who still continue to die today.