In 2022 following a €5 million investment, the new and reimagined National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park, Roscommon opened its doors and now, conservation works have been completed at Strokestown Park House and a new guided tour of this Palladian mansion is now available to visitors.
Strokestown Park’s Palladian House is a time capsule you can step inside and is one of the few of these houses in Ireland to retain all of its original features. When the last resident Olive Pakenham-Mahon sold this striking house just a few decades ago in 1979, her family had owned it for over 300 years. Each generation had left its mark on this great house, and each layer they left has a story to tell.
The re-vitalised one-hour guided house tour offers an insight into the lives of those who lived there and its fascinating history. Highlights include the library, drawing room, and dining room, plus a visit to a very unique galleried kitchen – which is the last of its type in the country. It also features newly refurbished rooms including a nursery room, kitchen parlour and darkroom. Visitors will be able to witness ongoing “conservation in action” and completed restoration works on the house. The faded grandeur and fascinating collections in this historic house give us unique insights into everyday life in the Irish country house. And they offer intriguing clues about the Irish experience in centuries past for people living vastly different parallel lives.
In addition to the new guided tour of Strokestown Park House, visitors of all ages can take in the new state-of-the-art National Famine Museum which tells the complete story of the Great Famine for the first time. A self-guided audio tour is on offer, available in six languages, with a mixture of imaginative scene settings 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. Strokestown Park is also the starting point for the National Famine Way, the unique and historic 165km trail that traces the footsteps of the 1,490 famine emigrants who left Strokestown in 1847. (www.nationalfamineway.ie)
Visitors can also enjoy the family-friendly 6-acre walled gardens and Strokestown Park’s lush mature woodlands with children’s trails. 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.
Since 2015 the Irish Heritage Trust, a not-for-profit organisation, cares for and manages the property.
For further details on Strokestown Park and The National Famine Museum see www.strokestownpark.ie . The visitor attraction is open 7 days per week / 364 days a year and tickets can be pre-booked online.