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Gates of Delphi Lodge open for Famine Walk


Gates of Delphi Lodge open for Famine Walk

Áine Ryan

ON March 30, 1849 hundreds of starving famine victims, who trekked through the haunting Doolough Valley, in search of certification as ‘paupers’ and Indian meal, were turned away from Delphi Lodge, near Louisburgh. Many of them died on their return journey, some were blown into Doolough by a biting and belligerent wind they were so emaciated and weak.
 Now, next Saturday, for the first time since its inception 25 years ago, the Afri (Action from Ireland) Famine walk will follow in the steps of these desperate people from Louisburgh all the way to Delphi Lodge, once owned by the Marquis Of Sligo.
Delphi Lodge Manager, Michael Wade said: “By opening our gates to the Afri Famine Walk, Delphi Lodge is acknowledging our part in what happened in 1849, instead of ignoring it, while showing to the world what we are today: an Irish country house which offers a welcome to all.”
The walk will be led  this year by singer-songwriter, Declan O’Rourke, who is due to release an album of original songs on the Great Famine; Gary White Deer of the Choctaw nation of Oklahoma, whose ancestors contributed to Irish Famine relief; Fergal Anderson of the Food Sovereignty movement, and Salome Mbugua of AkidwA, a migrant women’s network.
‘Symbols of life’, including trees and non-genetically modified potatoes, will be planted at the end of the walk, while some walkers will carry the names of people who are known definitely to have died along the route.
Joe Murray of Afri said the opening of the gates of Delphi Lodge this year was hugely symbolic. “The walk will represent a demand to governments and institutions in Ireland and around the world to ‘open the gates’ to the marginalised and excluded of our world and to make food sovereignty, the elimination of poverty and hunger and the preservation of the planet our number one global priorities,” Mr Murray said.
The walk will start in Louisburgh on Saturday next, May 18, at 1.30pm. Return shuttle buses from Delphi from 6.30pm.
MORE www.afri.ie

Tóchar Phádraig walk
THE following Saturday, May 25, participants in another unique walk, the Tóchar Phádraig Pilgrimage, will follow in the footsteps of Saint Patrick from Ballintubber Abbey to Croagh patrick.  The ancient pathway is littered with pre-Christian and Christian artefacts. The walk leaves Ballintubber Abbey at 8.30am and will be accompanied by back-up cars.
MORE Tel Ballinitubber Abbey Office 094 90 30934