The Strokestown Famine Project

Collaborative partners

  • Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates (CSHIHE)
  • Strokestown Park House
  • Russell Library and the John Paul II library, Maynooth University
  • OPW/ Maynooth University Archive & Research Centre, Castletown.

Background

Following collaboration between the board of Strokestown Park House and the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates (CSHIHE), Maynooth University, in 2008, the voluminous Strokestown Park House Archive was loaned to the OPW/Maynooth University Archive & Research Centre at Castletown.

The Strokestown Park House Archive is one of the most important and extensive nineteenth-century estate collections in Ireland comprising over 40,000 documents, including rentals, accounts, correspondence, maps and plans, property deeds, rent books, labour returns, pamphlets, press cuttings and even photographs. Of particular importance are the papers relating to the Great Famine of Ireland, 1845-51.Given the paucity of Famine records in a great many other estate collections, the Strokestown Archive has thus an added significance because of the microcosmic insight it offers into the Famine at local level.

In 2010, the Department of History, Maynooth University, appointed Dr Ciarán Reilly as a Research Fellow attached to the CSHIHE to carry out an in-depth analysis of the papers, with particular reference to the Famine period, with a view to future publications, the organisation of Famine exhibitions, lectures and seminars and to identify documents that may be digitised and made available electronically to a much wider audience.