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‘At 86, he announced he was going to walk the National Famine Way with me — all 165km of it’ 

Walking Ireland’s new National Famine Way, from Strokestown to Dublin, with her father was a journey Caroilín Callery will never forget

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Caroilín and Jim at a memorial along the National Famine Way

Caroilín and Jim at a memorial along the National Famine Way

The Jeanie Johnston replica famine ship. Picture: Peter Varga/Fáilte Ireland

The Jeanie Johnston replica famine ship. Picture: Peter Varga/Fáilte Ireland

Map of the National Famine Way which extends from Roscommon to Dublin

Map of the National Famine Way which extends from Roscommon to Dublin

The Famine Way mainly follows the Royal Canal Greenway

The Famine Way mainly follows the Royal Canal Greenway

Remembering the 1,490 emigrants who made the trek in 1847

Remembering the 1,490 emigrants who made the trek in 1847

View of the Jeanie Johnston ship near the Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin. Picture: Peter Varga/Fáilte Ireland

View of the Jeanie Johnston ship near the Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin. Picture: Peter Varga/Fáilte Ireland

Caroilín Callery and her father Jim were delighted to complete the 165km trek

Caroilín Callery and her father Jim were delighted to complete the 165km trek

The National Famine Way passport allows walkers and cyclists to record their progress along the route

The National Famine Way passport allows walkers and cyclists to record their progress along the route

Jim on the National Famine Way

Jim on the National Famine Way

The Egan family's passenger ticket for the ship Erin's Queen to Quebec, Canada

The Egan family's passenger ticket for the ship Erin's Queen to Quebec, Canada

Royal Canal

Royal Canal

Original Famine shoes

Original Famine shoes

Bronze Shoe Memorial dedicated to the 1,490 famine emigrants who walked from Strokestown to Dublin in 1847

Bronze Shoe Memorial dedicated to the 1,490 famine emigrants who walked from Strokestown to Dublin in 1847

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Caroilín and Jim at a memorial along the National Famine Way

‘Bell!” my father bellowed for the umpteenth time — taking up his new, self-appointed position as Bicycle Bell Inspector on the National Famine Way. The startled cyclists waved their apology for whizzing by us unannounced along the Royal Canal.

People have had many strange and varied reactions to Covid and lockdown, though I suspect my Dad’s response, like most of what he does, was at the extreme end of the scale. At 86 years of age, he announced he was going to walk the National Famine Way with me — all 165km of it, from Strokestown, Co Roscommon, to the Dublin docklands.


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