The Strokestown Park Famine Archive is one of the most important collections of documents about the Great Irish Famine in the world.
This extraordinary collection includes unique rental and lease documents, letters and other correspondence, as well as labour and financial records. The Strokestown Park Archive contains thousands of records, including the important Famine holdings. It is of national and international importance and gives us a complete and balanced record of this estate over a 300-year period. The archive reveals a vivid insight into the lives of the people who lived and worked here through individual stories and first-hand accounts and many long-forgotten men, women, and children live on through these documents.
Together, they shed light on the power structures, and the social and political relationships, that shaped 19th-century Irish society and its response to the famine crisis.
What is in the Strokestown Park Famine Archive?
The Strokestown Park Famine Archive is an extraordinary repository of information about the people, across all walks of life, whose lives – lived in parallel – were irrevocably changed by the famine.
Within the archive are the names and stories of the tenants, cottiers, and labourers, the gentry, overseers and middlemen, the craftsmen and traders, whose lives revolved around and depended upon the estate.
The archive reveals the stories of the 1,490 men, women and children who were forced to emigrate from Strokestown in 1847. Their journey is commemorated in the National Famine Way and the Great Famine Voices project.
Discover some of the most poignant records in the Treasures of the Strokestown Park Famine Archive virtual exhibition.
Remarkably, the Strokestown Park Famine Archive also contains a rare 19th-century photographic collection, made up of glass-plate negatives, which has been conserved and professionally digitised.
The archive’s stories are shared with our visitors in the National Famine Museum and through our archive-based events and exhibitions, both in-person and online. Our C19th material has been catalogued and some has been digitised. Academic researchers can request access to our digital resources by contacting the Strokestown Park archivist at firstname.lastname@example.org
How Were Strokestown Park’s Famine Documents Discovered?
While many of the papers from the Strokestown Park Estate were
transferred to the National Library of Ireland by Olive Hales Pakenham Mahon in the late 1940s, the famine-era papers remained at Strokestown Park and were found by chance as the new owner, Jim Callery, sifted through the house’s contents in 1979.
Caring for the Strokestown Park Famine Archive
In 2018, an International Advisory Committee was appointed to advise on the future of the Archive. A full-time professional archivist, Martin Fagan, was appointed in 2019. Since then, he has been rehousing and cataloguing Strokestown Park’s famine documents and artefacts to safeguard them and make the archive more accessible to researchers, so that it can fulfil its potential as an invaluable world-class scholarly resource.
“The Strokestown Park Famine Archive is becoming not only a repository of vital importance to historians of the Great Hunger and the Irish estate system but also a very user-friendly facility. It is a welcoming research environment for scholars across the globe.”
Professor of History, University of Toronto, Canada.