Bringing Places to Life

Irish Women in Theatre at Strokestown Park

Come and enjoy talks and a short play from leading Irish female performers and theatre practitioners in the Library of Strokestown Park House on Friday 26th & Saturday 27th October. The event is hosted by Strokestown Park House and the Irish Heritage Trust in partnership with Roscommon County Council Library Services, with funding from Creative Ireland. The full programme is available here. This event is FREE but booking is required by telephoning Strokestown Park on 071 9633013 or by clicking here.

 


John Smith Barry Returns Home to Fota House

JOHN ‘THE MAGNIFICENT’ SMITH BARRY RETURNS HOME TO FOTA HOUSE

The homecoming of the long-lost portrait of John ‘The Magnificent’ Smith Barry was celebrated in August.  The painting was jointly acquired by Fota House in collaboration with the Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) when it was auctioned at Chiswick’s auction house in London earlier this year.

 “We at Fota House & Gardens are delighted to have collaborated with our friends at the RCYC in welcoming home this small but significant painting of John Smith Barry during National Heritage Week”, said Victoria Tammadge, General Manager, Fota House & Gardens. “It is John that we have to thank for giving us the house that we know today as he had a huge impact on Fota House. We look forward to sharing this wonderful piece of Cork’s history at Fota for everyone to enjoy,” she continued.

In the early 1800s John Smith Barry (1793‐1837) extended Fota House from a hunting lodge with the help of architects Richard & William Morris into the stunning regency mansion you see today on the magnificent estate on Fota Island. The painting was restored by fine art conservator Justin Laffan and will hang at both Fota House and the RCYC in Crosshaven on an alternate basis.

John was one of five children to his hugely wealthy father James Hugh Smith Barry and mother Ann Tanner (whom James never married). John inherited Fota, however, due to his illegitimate status he could not inherit the title of Earl of Barrymore.  John was a very keen sailor, and joined the soon to be Royal Cork Yacht Club in 1812. He was made Vice Commodore in August 1833 and Vice Admiral in 1834. His 90 ton yacht Columbine won the King’s Cup at Cowes Week in 1835. In the painting we can see John in the library of Fota House wearing the RCYC uniform of the time with Columbine in near full-sail in Cork Harbour sporting the RCYC pennant on her main mast.

In 2017, Justin Laffan expertly restored five works from the Fota collection and restored three more paintings live at Fota House during Heritage Week thanks to the Heritage Council’s MSPI Caring for Collections Grant scheme 2018. Go to the Fota website to learn more www.fotahouse.com.

 


President Higgins Visits National Famine Museum at Strokestown

We were honoured to welcome President and Sabina Higgins to the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park in early July. The President officially opened the newly refurbished National Famine Museum in 2013 (which was opened in 1994 by President Mary Robinson) and was delighted to return to enjoy the fascinating Strokestown Park Famine Archive. Containing over 55,000 documents in relation to the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s, it is a complete record of economic, social and estate history over a 300-year period which was discovered by chance by Jim Callery in 1979 and led to the establishment of the National Famine Museum.

President and Sabina Higgins then took a detailed tour of the National Famine Museum with John O'Driscoll, Strokestown Park's General Manager and Jim Callery as well as members of the Irish Heritage Trust Board. The Museum tells the story of the Famine and highlights the parallels between a tragic chapter of Irish History and contemporary global hunger, and President Higgins has spoken to this theme on many occasions.

 

President and Sabina Higgins reading documents from the Strokestown Famine Archive

WORKS BEGIN AT JOHNSTOWN CASTLE

We were delighted to report that in April, building and improvement works began at Johnstown Castle, Estate & Gardens, Wexford. There will be significant conservation and upgrading works undertaken on the Castle itself, allowing it to be opened to the public and a new Visitor Centre is also being constructed on the property. The new facilities will open in spring 2019.

Teagasc, the owner of the property, is partnering with the Irish Heritage Trust and the Irish Agricultural Museum to secure the future of Johnstown Castle and its gardens, thanks to the generous support of Government. “We are delighted to report that in 2019 the Castle will be open to the public for the first time”, said Tom Doherty of Teagasc. “We will be offering an exciting visitor experience with access to three floors of the castle, access to the original servants’ tunnel and a new visitor centre with a café and shop.  “We are also working on a new road layout which is safer for cars and buses as well as improved paths in the gardens and grounds,” he continued.

“Johnstown Castle, Wexford’s greatest surviving country estate, is a significant building of national importance and we are carrying out conservation works required to allow greater public access, including essential repairs and electrical work,” said Clare McGrath, Chairman of the Irish Heritage Trust. “Later it is hoped to refurbish the main rooms but in the meantime, visitors can see inside the wonderful Castle for the first time in many years. We are delighted with the interest and passion local people have in this special place and we hope, as the project develops, everyone will find ways to get involved at the property to help us care for Johnstown Castle and share it with everyone,” she continued.

In the meantime the Johnstown Castle Gardens and the Irish Agricultural Museum are open for visitors where they can enjoy a nostalgic journey through Irish farming and social history, enjoy the stunning views or meander through the lush woodland gardens and around the lakes. Visit www.johnstowncastle.ie to learn more.

Interested in Volunteering at Johnstown?
We are excited to have already received enthusiastic offers of volunteering at Johnstown.  If you are interested in volunteering at Johnstown in 2019, please contact: johnstowncastle@irishheritagetrust.ie


11 PARNELL SQUARE - PLANNING PERMISSION GRANTED FOR NEXT CHAPTER IN DUBLIN'S LITERARY QUARTER

The Trust and its partners at No. 11 - Poetry Ireland - have undertaken to restore, revive and enhance this beautiful 250-year old building with a fascinating history which has significant historical and architectural importance.  No. 11 will become a public amenity for everyone to enjoy and a significant cultural hub that will maintain and enhance the public function of the building including a dedicated centre for poetry ‘The Poetry Ireland Centre’, and a permanent home for Seamus Heaney’s Working Poetry Library.

We are delighted that Poetry Ireland and the Irish Heritage Trust have received planning permission for our ambitious plans to restore No. 11 Parnell Square, a historic Georgian townhouse in Dublin's north inner city and open it up for public access.

No. 11 is set to become an integral part of a visionary project to fulfil Dublin City’s ambitions for a cultural cluster with high public footfall in the Parnell Square and will join the world-renowned Gate Theatre and Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, as well as the Dublin Writers Museum, the Irish Writers Centre, The James Joyce Centre and the proposed new City Library in Dublin’s de facto literary quarter.

Learn more here where you can watch journalist Olivia O'Leary, commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, comedian Dara Ó Briain, actor Aidan Gillen, poets Paula Meehan and Paul Muldoon, Marie Heaney and the people behind the restoration of No. 11 Parnell Square tell us why Ireland needs a home for poetry.


The wall-mounted telephone at Strokestown Park

Roaring Twenties Telephone at Strokestown Park

Learn more here about the fascinating history behind Strokestown Park's Magneto battery powered wall-mounted telephone. Visitors to Strokestown will find it located in the corridor connecting the formal dining room with the galleried kitchen.

 


Jim Callery Strokestown EU Prize Cultural Heritage

JIM CALLERY OF STROKESTOWN AWARDED PRESTIGIOUS EU PRIZE FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE

Jim Callery has been awarded Europe’s top honour in the heritage field - a prestigious European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Award for the “restoration and establishment of the world renowned Irish National Famine Museum & Archive which has been the largest act of private philanthropy for cultural heritage in the history of modern Ireland”.   Mr Callery's award is in the Category “Dedicated Service”. Pictured above is Mr. Callery receiving his Award from the Chairman of the Dedicated Service Jury, Álvaro Fernández-Villaverde y Silva.

Jim Callery, founder of the Irish National Famine Museum & Archive and owner of Strokestown Park, Co. Roscommon, is among this year’s winners in the category dedicated service to heritage and the only winner from Ireland. Independent expert juries examined a total of 202 applications, submitted by organisations and individuals from 39 countries across Europe, and chose the winners. The 29 laureates from 18 countries are being recognised for their notable achievements in conservation, research, dedicated service, and education, training and awareness-raising.

Mr Callery  joined the other winners of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards 2017 at a high-profile event co-hosted by EU Commissioner Navracsics and Maestro Plácido Domingo on 15 May in the historic city of Turku, Finland. The European Heritage Awards Ceremony assembled some 1,200 people, including heritage professionals, volunteers and supporters from all over Europe as well as top-level representatives from EU institutions, the host country and other Member States.

“I warmly congratulate this year’s winners and pay tribute to all those who made these exceptional achievements possible, thanks to their formidable talent, passionate commitment and great generosity. They are now among a select group of some 450 remarkable accomplishments awarded by Europa Nostra and the European Commission in the past 15 years. All our winners demonstrate that heritage is a key tool for sustainable economic development, social cohesion and a more inclusive Europe. EU leaders should seize the historic opportunity of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 to recognise the multiple benefits of heritage and its fundamental value in bringing countries, communities and cultures together in Europe and beyond,” stated Plácido Domingo, the renowned opera singer and President of Europa Nostra.

"I congratulate all the winners. Their achievements demonstrate once again how engaged many Europeans are in protecting and safeguarding their cultural heritage. Their projects highlight the significant role of cultural heritage in our lives and our society. Especially today, with Europe facing many big societal challenges, culture is vital in helping us to raise awareness of our common history and values and to foster tolerance, mutual understanding and social inclusion. The European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 will be an ideal opportunity to focus on what binds us together as Europeans - our common history, culture and heritage. The European Commission will continue to support this prize and other heritage projects through our Creative Europe programme,said Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

Click here to see video about Mr. Callery's work at Strokestown.


CD Cover Beatrice Elvery

IRISH HERITAGE TRUST TEN-YEAR HISTORY FEATURED IN IRISH ARTS REVIEW

"Engaging with communities and unlocking the unique story of the properties within its care lies at the heart of the Irish Heritage Trust’s ten-year history".

We are delighted that the Irish Heritage Trust is featured in a four-page article in the Winter 2016/17 issue of the Irish Arts Review.  The article, written by Sandra Andrea O'Connell explores the highlights of the Trust's first decade.

 

 


The Irish Famine Summer School

The Irish Famine Summer School is an annual international conference allowing delegates to engage with some of the world’s leading interdisciplinary experts in the Irish Famine.  By gathering some of the world’s leading historic Famine scholars, it benefits the local communities and brings the town of Strokestown to life. The Summer School is run in association with our academic partners Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, home of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute and alternates each year between Quinnipiac and Strokestown Park. The 2018 Irish Famine Summer School took place from 20th – 24th June at Strokestown Park. The theme was ‘Irish Journeys: Famine Legacies and Reconnecting Communities’. Strokestown Park House and the National Famine Museum provide a hub for visitors and scholars to experience a uniquely preserved historic house and explore the lives of rich and poor in their original setting.  To learn more click here.


8 Independent Objects Strokestown

8 Independent Objects at Strokestown

At Strokestown Park we commemorated the centenary of 1916 with an exhibition of objects that belong to local people and embody the changes that occurred in Irish society between 1914 and 1922. An original Proclamation of the Irish Republic is on display, one of only around 50 in the world. We used this to convey the declaration of a republic as ‘something striking to capture the imagination of the world.’ A Cumann na mBan jacket owned by a Strokestown activist conveys the empowerment of women, a 1919 motorbike embodies new kinds of mobility and an autograph book containing the signatures of the second Dail  cabinet  shows the power of the ‘democratic path’. We ask visitors to think about which ‘development’ was most important in Ireland’s struggle for independence, cast their vote, and tell us why.