|A special 18km walk, dedicated to fundraising and increasing awareness of the plight of Irish emigrants in London, will take place in Co Mayo on this Saturday, 8 July. Funds raised will go to support the Seniors Project of the Irish Chaplaincy in London.
Bishop Paul Dempsey of Achonry, chairman of the Council for Emigrants of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, will join the walk that will cover the course of a section of the former railway track in Co Mayo, from Mulranny to Newport, along the breathtakingly picturesque Greenway overlooking the west coast of Ireland.
Bishop Dempsey said, “Our awareness raising walk is an opportunity to remember so many Irish who left many years ago but also those who have had to leave in more recent times for various reasons. It will be an opportunity to remember them and keep them in prayer. All are welcome to join us on our scenic pilgrimage in support of our elderly compatriots living in Britain.”
The chief executive of the Irish Chaplaincy in London, Mr Eddie Gilmore, the organiser of the walk, said, “as we have done in recent years, we will be walking again from Mulranny to Newport in Mayo along the Greenway to raise funds for the Seniors Project of the Irish Chaplaincy, and to raise awareness of the older Irish we support in Britain, whether living alone or in care homes or in prison. All are welcome to join us on 8 July and our meeting point is in Mulranny at 10.30am. This is an open invitation to follow along the path taken by so many Irish emigrants in the past as they departed their homeland, and in many cases never to return. We would be most grateful for donations on the day or you can contact me on [email protected].”
The photograph above, taken by the Catholic Communications Office, shows the National Famine Memorial which sits at the foot of Croagh Patrick, Co Mayo, with commanding views over the Atlantic Ocean. This striking sculpture was crafted by John Behan and commemorates the millions who perished during the Great Famine of 1845 – 52. It depicts a “coffin ship” with skeleton bodies in the rigging.
Notes for editors
- The Irish Chaplaincy in London (http://www.irishchaplaincy.org.uk/) was established by the Irish Bishops’ Conference in 1957 as the Irish Emigrant Chaplaincy. Today, the Chaplaincy provides an outreach service to three main groups: elderly Irish people (the Seniors’ Project), prisoners, and to Travellers. The Seniors Project services consist of regular visits to older Irish people in their home, in hospital or residential care home. Their staff offer positive support and encouragement by maintaining regular telephone contact to ensure isolated older Irish have someone to talk to and share their hopes and concerns. The Chaplaincy also liaises and advocates on their behalf with health and social care providers and a range of other organisations. Importantly, staff help to reconnect with families back in Ireland and support those who want to move back to Ireland to make this transition as smooth as possible. Another aspect of its work is to offer a knowledgeable and comforting presence in relation to end of life questions and concerns, and to provide advice on funeral planning in London and in Ireland. Exploring older people’s faith and spirituality with them, and helping to link to a local faith community if requested, is a cornerstone of the work of the Chaplaincy.