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Walking trail will tell the story of the Famine in Skibbereen

June 19th, 2015 12:45 PM

By Southern Star Team

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THE Skibbereen Heritage Centre is launching a walking trail of the town, that will be available in book form and on an app, later this month.

The streets of Skibbereen offer a tangible link to the Great Famine of the 1840s, say the app’s developers. And Skibbereen: The Famine Story is the title of the book and walking trail app, both of which explore the tragic consequences of the Great Famine in the area around Skibbereen.

Skibbereen was ‘the very nucleus’ of the Famine and horrific reports from the town featured in the media of the time, as the area became infamous for the suffering endured by its people. Skibbereen: the Famine Story uses these shocking reports to follow the crisis as it developed and shows the devastating effects it had on local individuals and families.

The people who feature in the book – such as Tom Guerin, the man who was buried alive, and the Widow Geaney, evicted to die on the side of the road – represent millions whose stories remain untold. The true enormity of this national tragedy becomes apparent through these individual experiences, and the sites of the Skibbereen Union where the events took place.

The app guides the walker through the streets of the town, via sites that have direct links to the Great Famine. Using voices from the era, including Dr Dan Donovan, Rev RB Townsend and others, the app recounts the tragic events in the places where they took place.

The app is narrated by Terri Kearney, manager of Skibbereen Heritage Centre, and local residents Jeremy Irons, Fachtna O’Driscoll, Declan McCarthy, Peter Murray, Gerald O’Brien, Stan Rispin and Derry Moynihan have all lent their voices to help bring to life some of the characters of the era who feature in our story.

The book offers a broader view of the Famine and covers the entire Skibbereen Union, from Rosscarbery to the Mizen. Co-written by Terri Kearney and her heritage centre colleague Philip O’Regan, it follows the course of the Famine and shows the impact it had on the people of the area through stories of individual experiences.

Both the book and app give locations where events took place, with maps and GPS co-ordinates for those on public property.

It will be launched by Mike Murphy of UCC (editor of the Atlas of the Great Irish Famine) on Saturday June 20th, at Skibbereen Heritage Centre at 8pm. The walking trail app, book and e-book will then be available for sale on Skibbereen Heritage Centre’s website www.skibbheritage.com, and the book will also be in all good bookshops in Cork county.

Design, layout and printing of Skibbereen: The Famine Story is by The Southern Star.

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