Bringing Places to Life

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.

 


Children house tour Fota House

NATIONAL HERITAGE WEEK AT FOTA HOUSE & STROKESTOWN PARK

National Heritage Week 2017 takes place from 19th to 27th August. At Fota House and Strokestown Park we have an exciting schedule of events lined up for the week.  Come and engage with your heritage!

With free admission all week, Fota House Arboretum & Gardens will operate a busy programme of events, including 'Restoration in Practice' with Justin Laffan, a Baroque concert in the Gardens, dedicated children’s tours and much more.

Strokestown Park offers a range of activities including a talk on the hidden 17th century Chapel and plans for its conservation. There will be free access to the walled garden on the 26th of August as well and Poetry and Folklore walking trails. 

Please check the Fota House and Strokestown Park websites for more information.


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.

 

 


John the Magnificent Smith Barry Fota House Christmas Magic of Santa The Irish Heritage Trust Authentic Christmas

What was Christmas in the past really like?

We are so lucky at the Trust to have properties where traces of Christmas past still remain. At Strokestown Park the focus is on a ‘Victorian Christmas’, greenery is brought in from the estate to ‘deck the halls’ and one tree is decorated with original Victorian candle holders left by the Pakenham-Mahon family. At Fota we know what life was life both above and below stairs on Christmas Day. On Christmas morning the family went to church and delivered Christmas gifts to their tenants. For lunch on Christmas day, the family served themselves a cold lunch (one of the few times they served themselves at lunch or dinner) while the servants ate their Christmas dinner downstairs. In the evening the family changed into fancy dress costumes that they kept in a big trunk in the attic. At exactly 8 o'clock they returned downstairs and the servants assembled in rows at either side of the hall and bowed to each family member as they went past into the Dining Room (was this a show of deference or was it to play along with the fancy dress theme?) The family would then drink from a loving cup and eat their lavish dinner.  Their dinner usually consisted of a humungous turkey and all the trimmings plus of course a Christmas pudding made the previous Christmas, so that it was extra rich and dark. Once finished eating they played games in the Library late into the night.

You can read more about Christmas at Fota here.

You too can experience the magic of Christmas in the 'Big House'! Why not book:

The Magic of Santa at Fota House or

Victorian Christmas at Strokestown Park

Merry Christmas from Fota & Strokestown Park, and from everyone at the Irish Heritage Trust


Minister Heather Humphreys Jim Callery Strokestown Park House Irish Heritage Trust

MINISTER HUMPHREYS VISITS STROKESTOWN

In September, Heather Humphreys - the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs - joined a women’s history event at Strokestown Park House titled “Revolutionaries in their own Right: Irish Women in War and Revolution”.

The event took place in the historical setting of the Galleried Kitchens at the House and was using the unique and wonderful contents of Strokestown House and the archive, along with its authentic streetscape, to bring history to life. A tour of Strokestown in 1916 was conducted by local school students who have created a unique piece of public history.

“The town of Strokestown, the Irish National Famine Museum and Strokestown Park House together form a very special place and a unique heritage asset and it’s wonderful to see them being used for such a fascinating event about the changing roles and lives of women during the decade 1912-22,” said Minister Humphreys.  “On behalf of my Department, I would like to wish everyone at Strokestown Park and Famine Museum every success as they continue work with the Irish Heritage Trust to improve this wonderful place in the coming years for everyone to enjoy”, she concluded.

“We are delighted to see Minister Humphreys here today at Strokestown Park and Famine Museum and to show her the wonderful community participation at such a significant national heritage property”, said Kevin Baird, CEO of the Irish Heritage Trust, a charity which has been operating the property since 2015. “This is the result of a fruitful partnership between the Irish Heritage Trust and Roscommon County Library Services, one of a number of Decade of Centenaries offerings where we have worked in partnership with local communities”, he continued.


Museum Standards Fota House Irish Heritage Trust

FOTA HOUSE AWARDED MUSEUM ACCREDITATION

The Trust was honoured with Full  Museum Accreditation for Fota House during the summer of 2016. This is the result of over five years of hard work at Fota and means that nine years after the Irish Heritage Trust took responsibility for the house, it is now a house with Full Museum Status.

This Accreditation takes about five years to achieve all the standards. It is officially part of the Museum Standards Programme of Ireland (MSPI), which is run by The Heritage Council.  The awards’ adjudication was announced at a ceremony in the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin on the 4th of July by the Chairman of The Heritage Council, Mr. Conor Newman.

The Heritage Council Assessors reported: “There is a strong visitor focus with the provision of an excellent guided tour, an informative, lively and current website, high quality printed materials and a good range of formal and informal learning opportunities for schools, families and lifelong learners. The Irish Heritage Trust clearly demonstrates a strong commitment to the Fota House volunteers, with training, CPD and good communications. Fota House is particularly strong on collections care and has very quickly established and implemented good practice from scratch.  Since applying for Interim Accreditation, a new post of Museums Standards and Property Care has been established at Fota House which shows the Irish Heritage Trust’s commitment to attaining and maintaining the standards of the MSPI”.

Fota House was one of seven of Ireland’s museums to be awarded the top standard of Full Accreditation in 2016, which requires complying with all 34 designated standards under the MSPI. Of the 57 participants in the programme, 29 museums have achieved Full Accreditation and 11 others have been awarded Interim Accreditation.

 


Johnstown Castle Teagasc Irish Heritage Trust

OPEN DAYS AT JOHNSTOWN CASTLE

We were delighted to host the “Johnstown Open Days” with Teagasc and the Irish Agricultural Museum during the summer.  The public were invited to see what is happening at the wonderful Johnstown Castle, which is just outside Wexford town. Hundreds of people enthusiastically came through the doors of the Castle over two days. They enjoyed hearing about the exciting plans for the future and there was plenty of goodwill and support for this project, which includes a new visitor centre.  As it is such a large property, the work is happening in phases.   

In the meantime, the beautiful grounds are open all year round as well as the Irish Agricultural Museum which houses exhibitions designed to display and explore the collection of folk, farming, rural history and objects from the turn of the 18th century until the middle of the 20th century.
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Conference Jim Callery

The Irish Famine Summer School

When you bring together leading scholars in a small heritage town it feels like a boutique experience. The Irish Famine Summer School and Conference combine academic excellence with charming informality. Amazing conversations happen at coffee, at dinner … and of course in the pub! The conference is open to academics, students and local historians which allows for incredible richness – from the overview, to historiography, to the local case study. The sessions are small and informal, held in authentic heritage spaces. The question and answer sessions are open and inviting. Great papers are combined with many other social events, such as drama, book launches and trips. ‘I loved it all, and only regretted afterwards that life couldn't just be a long famine summer school!’


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.