Irish Consulate launches virtual tour of Frederick Douglass visit to Dublin

A historical map that traces Frederick Douglass’s walking route through Dublin, Ireland will have a be launched on Friday, May 14. The project, “Frederick Douglass Way, Ireland,” was funded by an Irish government grant. The Consulate General of Ireland in New York and the African American Irish Diaspora Network will host a virtual launch of the map at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 14. The launch will include a one-hour live webinar. Register here:

In August 1845, a 27-year-old American man, designated by his government to be a ‘fugitive slave’, arrived in Dublin. He had intended to stay in the city for four days, but the warmth of the welcome he received meant that he stayed in Ireland for four months. He described his time in the country as ‘transformative’ and the ‘happiest time of his life’. Professor Christine Kinealy, author of 'Black Abolitionists in Ireland', has created the Way, which will allow Dublin natives and visitors alike to follow in the footsteps of Frederick Douglass and retrace his visit to Dublin in 1845.

Kinealy said the map highlights 10 locations in Dublin visited by Douglass, including the home of Daniel O'Connell, an Irish nationalist and transatlantic abolitionist and a hero to Douglass and many other enslaved peoples; the Mansion House, home to the Lord Mayor of Dublin where Douglass was invited to dine; and the EPIC Emigration museum (then a warehouse for ship cargo), which was possibly the first place Douglass saw when he arrived in Dublin. The area is also home to Rowan Gillespie's stunning famine statues that acknowledge the suffering and start of the Great Hunger in Ireland in 1845.

“While in Ireland, Douglass experienced a sense of freedom and equality that he had never felt before,” Kinealy said. “But he was also shocked by the poverty that he witnessed. His time in Ireland was an important step in Douglass’ road to becoming an international champion of human rights, whose words and wisdom remain relevant today.”