Delphi Lodge Famine Walk
Every year since 1988, AFRI (Action from Ireland) have commemorated a local tragedy which took place at the end of March 1849, four years into the Irish Famine, by hosting a ‘Famine Walk’ from Doolough to Louisburgh.
This year, and for the first time ever, Delphi Lodge have invited AFRI to follow the original route, starting from Lousiburgh and ending at Delphi Lodge, the destination in 1849, and finally some 164 years later, to be received with a long overdue and fitting welcome.
Whilst the Lodge of today is a truly warm and welcoming place, enjoyed by so many visitors from all over the world, the Doolough Tragedy as it came to be known, shows it’s more melancholy links to the past – like so many houses of its kind throughout our troubled history.
On Friday the 30th of March 1849, hundreds of starving people arrived at Louisburgh from far and wide to be counted and assessed for the continuation of their “outdoor relief”. Failure to attend would result in being struck off the register. The two officials responsible, a Captain Primrose and a Colonel Hogrove had decided not to remain at Louisburgh to carry out the inspection but to go on to Delphi Lodge, resulting in those being assessed having to follow on foot for counting by the following morning at 7 a.m. The inspection took place on that second day, but without any food or practical assistance being proffered. The “paupers” had then no choice but to make the 16 mile return journey once again on foot in the most appalling of weather conditions. Many perished along the way.
By symbolically opening its gates to the AFRI Famine Walk on Saturday May 18th this year, Delphi Lodge wishes to acknowledge its part in the Doolough Tragedy, whilst showing, on behalf of all of the Delphi staff, what we are today – a welcoming, traditional Irish Country House.
The day will be one of respectful homage to all victims of the Irish Famine. Very poignantly, placards will be carried bearing the names of several of those who are known to have perished at the time and on arrival at the Lodge, the gates will be opened to warmly welcome walkers, followed by the ceremonial planting of a tree and some potatoes.
The Famine Walk has been previously led by figures such as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Gary Whitedeer of the Choctaw Indian Nation and Christy Moore.
Further details to include itinerary and announcement of walk leaders will follow.
If you are as interested in this period of Irish History as we are, then we can highly recommend the following book which gives a fascinating insight into the events as they happened through actual accounts from the time;
The Famine in Mayo, A portrait from contemporary sources 1845–1850.