Featured

JOHNSTOWN CASTLE TO OPEN IN 2019

A brand new visitor experience at an ancient heritage attraction in Ireland’s south-east is set to open to the public in 2019. Johnstown Castle, Wexford’s greatest surviving country estate, is currently home to the Irish Agricultural Museum in the estate’s stable yard – providing a nostalgic journey through Irish farming and social history. To date, however, the Gothic Revival castle itself has never been open to the public; this is all set to change as the new Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum & Gardens experience is to open to the public in spring 2019.

The Irish Heritage Trust, an independent charity, was announced in 2015 as the successful applicant to work with Teagasc, the Irish Agricultural Museum and the local community to develop a new and exciting visitor experience at Johnstown Castle which includes the famous Daniel Robertson Ornamental Gardens.

At present, the €7.5 million project works are underway at Johnstown with an entirely new ‘3 in 1’ attraction set to be unveiled at the castle, museum and gardens. A new visitor centre is being built in the castle courtyard including an extensive shop specialising in local products and a 120 seat café with terrace. The castle at Johnstown is undergoing conservation works required to allow public access and to safeguard the castle’s future including essential repairs and electrical work. The castle tour will include the adjoining 86 metre original ‘servants’ tunnel’, believed to be the longest in the country and also opening to the public for the first time.  

Commenting on the progress at what is set to be one of Ireland’s foremost tourist attractions, Anne O’Donoghue, CEO of the Irish Heritage Trust said, “Johnstown Castle is a hugely significant building of national importance and we look forward to bringing it back to life.  This is a hugely exciting addition for Irish Tourism and Ireland’s Ancient East and is set to be one of Ireland’s foremost tourist attractions.

 The Johnstown visitor experience will also offer access to the stunning lower lake area to meander and explore, a new playground, as well as new parking and entrance arrangements with ample car and coach parking. Charming garden walks will be available in the tour experience as well as the existing Irish Agricultural Museum. The Museum’s exhibitions explore the collection of folk, farming, rural history and objects from the turn of the 18th century until the middle of the 20th century.

“This is a vast and exciting project at Johnstown and we are delighted to be completing this initial phase of work. We, along with the Irish Heritage Trust look forward to providing a warm welcome to all our visitors both returning and new to this wonderful
‘3 in 1’ attraction in 2019,”
said Tom Doherty, Chief Operations Officer of Teagasc.

 The Irish Heritage Trust was established in July 2006 as a joint initiative between government and the voluntary sector. The Trust has had great success in developing other heritage projects and bringing places to life over the years including Fota House and Gardens in Cork and Strokestown Park and The National Famine Museum, Roscommon.  

The works taking place inside Johnstown Castle and the construction of the new visitor centre are wide-ranging and continue apace; despite this, the works do not impact the facilities currently open to the public. The Irish Agricultural Museum and Tearoom along with the Johnstown Castle Gardens, Shop and Tea Room will be open until 4 pm daily (November - February).

 

 


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

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.


Magical Weddings in an Irish Heritage Trust Property

A wedding at Fota House and Gardens is an experience you will never forget. From a ceremony in our magnificent drawing room, to photos throughout the stunning house and gardens, why not contact our team to arrange a consultation.

Whether it’s a civil marriage or partnership, a blessing or a distinctive setting for your photographs you can share in the Fota's tradition of spectacular weddings.

Over the decades visitors and guests to Fota House have become captivated by its timeless and romantic atmosphere. The house boasts stunning Regency architecture and décor, exquisite gardens, fanfares of blossom and beautifully appointed surroundings.

Our professional wedding team will ensure you have a joyful day at Fota House Arboretum & Gardens. More information about weddings at Fota click here

 


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.

 

 


Volunteering Irish Heritage Trust

Volunteering

As a charity we rely on the support of volunteers to help care for our properties. From gardens to helping in the shop and café or providing administrative support, we’ve lots of opportunities to get involved.