The Doolough Famine Tragedy took place on Friday the 30th March 1849
The Doolough Tragedy is an event that took place during the Great Irish Famine in south west County Mayo.
On Friday 30 March 1849 two officials of the Westport Poor Law Union arrived in Louisburgh to inspect those people in receipt of outdoor relief in order to verify that they should continue to receive it. For some reason the inspection did not take place and the officials went on to Delphi Lodge - a hunting lodge - twelve miles south of Louisburgh. The people who had gathered for the inspection were thus instructed to appear at Delphi Lodge at 7am the following morning if they wished to continue receiving relief. For much of the night and day that followed therefore seemingly hundreds of destitute and starving people had to undertake what for them, given their existing state of debilitation, was an extremely fatiguing journey, in very bad weather. A letter-writer to “The Mayo Constitution” reported shortly afterwards that the bodies of seven people, including women and children, were subsequently discovered on the roadside between Delphi and Louisburgh overlooking the shores of Doolough lake and that nine more never reached their homes. Local folklore maintains the total numbers that perished because of the ordeals they had to endure was far higher.
A cross and an annual Famine Walk between Louisburgh and Doolough commemorates this event. The monument in Doolough valley has an inscription from Mahatma Gandhi: How can men feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings?