Thirty years on the ‘Famine Road’ have generated many memorable moments and iconic images. On the first walk in 1988, walk leader Donncha O Dulaing arrived by helicopter to join Niall O’Brien, recently released from prison in the Philippines, and Mayo woman Caitriona Ruane, recently returned from Central America, before leading us off on the first ‘chapter’ of this extraordinary journey.
The following year, Brian Willson, having lost both legs while attempting to stop a train delivering arms from the US to Central America, was applauded as he bravely crossed the finishing line.
Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah were almost blown away with the force of the gale that blew up when they led the walk in 1991. It helped us all to understand a little better how it would’ve been for the hungry poor of 1849.
The voices of Juana Vasquez and Dario Caal, representing the Maya from Guatemala, echoed off the mountains as they spoke at the edge of Doolough about the importance of solidarity and how they believed they were walking with the spirits of our ancestors through the sacred Doolough valley in 1995.
And then the gates of Delphi Lodge were opened to the walk in 2013. We walked through the gates solemnly carrying the names of those who had died in the tragedy of 1849 and the names of those who died of hunger in our own day, in our world of plenty. We planted an oak tree, we planted potatoes supplied by Willie Corduff of Rossport and we listened to the deeply emotional rendition of ‘Connacht Orphan’ sung by its author, Declan O’Rourke.
Join us for the 30th Walk on May 20th 2017 where more extraordinary moments are sure to be generated.
Afri’s annual Doolough Famine Walk was featured on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Ramblings’ show and was selected as BBC Radio 4’s ‘Pick of the Week’ on Sunday 19th February. Listen to the show here.
To register online go here or check out our facebook event page. If you are planning on doing the Famine Walk please contact the Afri office for a sponsorship card – firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 8827563.
- Please assemble in Louisburgh for registration at 12.45pm.
- There will be an approximately 15 min opening ceremony, including speakers and music – this is a very important part of the Famine Walk and we would encourage all participants to be present for this part of the event.
- Buses will bring walkers to start point from 1.30pm.
- A tree will be planted at the start of the walk at the Famine Memorial in Delphi Lodge before walkers return to Louisburgh.
- There is no parking available at Delphi Lodge.
- The walk is approximately 11 miles (18 km) and a shuttle car will be available along the route if needed.
- Comfortable shoes, raingear and water are strongly recommended.
- Tea/coffee (but not food) will be provided at a halfway point along the way. There will also be toilet facilities at the halfway point as well as along the lake.
- IN THE INTEREST OF HEALTH AND SAFETY, PLEASE WALK ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF THE ROAD FOR THE DURATION OF THE WALK.
We are asking participants to consider raising sponsorship for Afri, so that we can continue our important work. If you would like to do so, please get in touch with the Afri office and we will post you out a sponsorship card. If you would prefer not to raise sponsorship you can register online here or pay €24 on the day – which includes the registration fee and cost of the bus to the start of the walk.