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Photographer's Note

Nearly 7 years ago, I posted a picture of this spot, Doo Lough in County Mayo. In that original post, I promised to post another picture soon talking about one of the saddest stories of the Great Potato Famine, which occurred in this beautiful valley. And then I forgot completely to post the follow up. So here, nearly 7 years later, is the story of the Doo Lough starvation walk.

In March 1849, several hundred starving and destitute Irish peasants were instructed to appear in nearby Louisburgh so that officials could evaluate whether they should continue receiving public assistance. For some reason, the officials didn't perform the evaluation; instead, they went to Delphi, some 12 miles distant, and passed the night there. The starving peasants were told to appear before the officials in Delphi the following morning if they wanted to keep receiving relief. Otherwise, they would be cut off from public assistance.

With no alternative, several hundred starving, ragged people walked 12 miles through the night in cold, wet conditions. A walk like that would have been taxing for healthy, well-fed people. For these poor Irish people in their weakened state, it was devastating. At least a couple dozen peasants died by the wayside, many in this valley overlooking the lake. Local memory puts the death toll much higher.

This cross was erected to commemorate the victims. An annual walk is held in memory of those who died just trying to feed themselves and their families.

We got here after a short rain. Only a handful of cars passed in the 20 minutes we were here, and none of them stopped. Doo Lough is still an empty and desolate spot in western Ireland.

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Additional Photos by Clark Monson (cdmonson) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 383 W: 51 N: 1013] (5272)
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