11 July 2022
The National Famine Museum | Strokestown Park has been transformed with a €5 million investment via Fáilte Ireland and Westward Holdings Ltd in partnership with the Irish Heritage Trust and the doors open on 1st July for visitors to enjoy a new state-of-the-art National Famine Museum, telling the complete story of the Great Famine for the first time.
The new visitor experience includes a ‘3 in one’ ticket offering the enthralling new National Famine Museum, the historic walled gardens and woodland walk at Strokestown Park and the Palladian House with its original furnishings and features. The House re-opens for tours later in July once conservation works have been completed.
Since 2015 the Irish Heritage Trust, a not-for-profit organisation, cares for and manages the property and has overseen this significant redevelopment project. The re-imagined National Famine Museum tells the complete story of the Great Famine in a compelling manner and explores the parallel lives of Strokestown Park’s aristocratic landlords and their tenants during this period. Visitors will have a truly immersive experience as the Museum breathtakingly takes local and national stories from this tragic period in Ireland’s past and brings them dramatically to life.
A self-guided audio tour is on offer, available in six languages, with a mixture of imaginative scene setting and innovative audio-visuals and touch screens. Visitors will be able to explore the tenants’ experience of hunger, eviction and exile through voluntary and assisted migration while engaging with the landlord’s perspective, his power, his dilemma and controversial assassination and gain insight into a cataclysmic disaster that changed Ireland forever.
Visitors can also enjoy the 6-acre walled gardens and Strokestown Park’s lush mature woodlands. A brand new bright and modern Woodland Café is the icing on the cake. Located in the old granary of Strokestown Park House, it is focused on serving high-quality, seasonal, locally sourced produce as well as the finest coffee and delicious treats, catering for all dietary needs.
Commenting on the opening John O’Driscoll, General Manager at The National Famine Museum | Strokestown Park said, “We are delighted to re-open our doors to welcome visitors to a brand new experience and we offer a wide a range of things to do for all ages. We have created a series of enjoyable and enriching trails for our younger visitors in the new Museum as well as in the beautiful walled gardens and woodland walk. We are also looking forward to welcoming back visitors who may have been here before and driving visitor numbers further for the tourism industry right across Roscommon and Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.”
Of national and international importance, the Strokestown Park Archive is a complete record of economic, social and estate history over a 300-year period and gives a real insight into life on one of Ireland’s great estates. Artefacts and documents from Strokestown’s extensive archive – which is home to the largest collection of material relating to the Great Famine – will be showcased throughout the new Museum including the Cloonahee Petition.
Anne O’Donoghue, CEO of the Irish Heritage Trust added: “At our recent Local Museum Day we were delighted to welcome over 600 guests from the surrounding community to preview the new National Famine Museum and we are so grateful for their support and enthusiastic feedback. We are pleased that on the day many visitors day signed up to our Irish Heritage Trust volunteering programme and will join our wonderful team of experienced and new employees, many from the local community and surrounding region. As we prepare to welcome visitors when we open, we are confident that our local and talented team of employees and volunteers will help us to deliver a welcoming and engaging experience at this this world-class heritage tourist attraction of national and international importance.”
Further details on The National Famine Museum | Strokestown Park can be viewed at www.strokestownpark.ie . The visitor attraction is open 7 days per week / 364 days of the year and tickets can be pre-booked online. To visit all three attractions at Strokestown Park will take 3 to 4 hours.