Hunger and Hope: The Irish Famine Migration from Strokestown, Roscommon in 1847 brings together leading experts who trace the harrowing voyage of 1,490 assisted emigrants from Ireland to Canada. Their journey was emblematic of the worst horrors of the Irish Famine migration, yet the causes of their misfortune remain poorly understood. The volume’s contributors meticulously reconstruct the movements of Strokestown’s Famine migrants to Dublin, onwards to Liverpool, then across the Atlantic, and their settlement patterns in North America to reappraise their fate.
The Strokestown Park Estate of Major Denis Mahon in County Roscommon was one of the worst afflicted during the Great Hunger. The transatlantic voyage of the estate’s assisted emigrants in 1847 was intended to alleviate their plight. Yet almost half of those on the Virginius and Naomi died from infectious disease aboard ship or in the “fever sheds” at Grosse Île when they arrived in Quebec. Over 40 children were left orphaned in Canada. When news of the high death toll reached Strokestown, Major Mahon was the first Irish landlord to be assassinated. While many of the Strokestown Famine emigrants succumbed to infectious disease, others defied the odds to start new lives overseas. Their journey from hunger to hope defined a story of resilience and survival.
The editors of Hunger and Hope were three of the five historians who, in 2019, recreated the 100-mile walk to Dublin undertaken by the Strokestown emigrants in 1847. This was the inaugural walk that formed the award-winning National Famine Way: https://nationalfamineway.ie/
Christine Kinealy, Jason King and Mark G. McGowan (eds) Hunger and Hope: The Irish Famine Migration from Strokestown, Roscommon in 1847 (Hamden, CT: Quinnipiac University Press; Cork University Press, 2023).
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