Strokestown Park House & Famine Museum, Roscommon, Ireland

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Items filtered by date: December 2016

Team News Edition 1

Friday, 24 June 2016 14:04 Published in Volunteer blog

Welcome to the volunteer blog in Strokestown Park. Our programme has been established in April 2016 and is slowly gaining momentum with the help of the Strokestown & Roscommon community. 

In April we saw the first induction night. Everyone gave their preference for the 3 team streams - Collection Care Guild, Gardening Guild & Events Guild. It was a lovely evening of tea and cake! There are now 9 team members signed up!


Volunteer Induction Evening

Events Guild

On May 22nd we saw our first event involving the team-members. It was fantastic to have them involved. Duties included admission, plant creche administration and our information table. Paul, Jim, Grace, Pam, Dolores & Mary all came along to help out and we greatly appreciated it. Without volunteers getting involved in events like this they simply could not happen.


Paula & Grace Posing for a photo!


Lovely Pam & Grace at the Information Table


Dolores with Carl at the Plant Creche

The Irish Famine Summer School

Thank you to Grace for her great work all during the Summer School week. She even made some freshly concocted elderflower lemonade from the elderflower growing here in Strokestown! Not only was she minding the main admissions door but helping out with teas & coffees, chatting with visitors and generally being an all round wonder woman!

It's also worth noting the fantastic croquet team & their display during the week of the summer school! They all looked fabulous and brought a lovely outside element to the event!


Future Events:

Our Family Fete Day will be taking place on the 7th of August from 12pm until 4pm. We need help in parking control, admissons, decor and smiling faces! You can contact Ruth if you would like to volunteer. All proceeds will be going toward a particular area of the house that needs funding. We also will be having a home made bunting make and do day  prior to the event - more details to follow!


Garden Guild

Dolores has been tending to the Rose Garden each week and has done a lovely job. She also saved some of our strawberries from the birds. The were enjoyed by visitors in the cafe!


Beautiful Roses Dolores Works On


Freshly Picked Strawberries!


Chris, an experienced gardener himself,  has been working in the Victorian Walled Garden doing some weeding every Thursday - making our beds look neat and tidy. It is a great help! 


One of Chris's Beds 

Future Projects:

 It would be great to get the compost heap back in action located on the side of the vegetable garden. A big job - we are looking for volunteers for a day long project to bring it back to life. Get in touch with Ruth in the office if this sounds like your sort of thing & we will confirm a date!

As always, if you want to work away in the garden during the week there is plenty of odd jobs to do. Contact Ruth in the office to find out more and a time that suits you.

Care and Collections Guild

Lynne our volunteer extraodinaire has been doing fantastic work in the house for over a year! Not only has she cleaned and organised but she also has cleaned out the linen cupboard completely! 


We are slowly plotting and planning our Care and Collections Guild. Victoria Browne has visited from the Irish Heritage Trust and is in the process of devising some projects to work on in late Summer and next winter.

Our training day for this will be in late August/September 2016 and will be updated in due course.

Strokestown Park - Team Newsletter - Ed1 - 2016



The Inaugural Strokestown Park Plant fair takes place on Sunday

22nd May 10.30am to 4.30pm.


Hi folks, 


John O'Driscoll here, general manger of Strokestown Park.


I'm delighted that we are holding our very first plant fair on Sunday 22nd May 2016. Being a bit of a plant addict I cannot wait, as always there are a few gaps that need filling in my shade garden and even if there wasn’t I would fit more plants in. So far 12 suppliers are attending so it’s the perfect opportunity to find that special plant. I see that Rare Plants Ireland are going to be there as are Caherhurley Nursery, Knockvicar Organic Garden and more.  There will be information about the work The Irish Seed Savers are doing and The National Biodiversity Centre, it’s always great to hear what we can do in our gardens to benefit our environment. Its only €5 entry fee for adults, which includes entry into the 6 acre Walled Gardens. The Herbaceous border will be well into growth by then and visitor can have a look at the Rose Garden which is being totally replanted with Rugosa Roses dating from 1890 to the 1930’s. Hopefully the weather warms up and the salads and veg will be up, these are all from seeds supplied by the wonderful Irish Seed Savers.  All funds raised will go to The Irish Heritage Trust to help them protect Strokestown Park for all to enjoy into the future. Hope to see you there.


Slow Start To Growth

Friday, 17 May 2013 13:05 Published in Garden Blog

What a strange year so far, warm, wet, cold, warm now again thank goodness. Growth seemed to start and then it was stopped in its tracks by a very cold spell. Really lucky here that there was not more frost damage done to some plants. Everything is behind in the garden by about 3 weeks, but I am sure all will catch up.


The herbaceous border has sprung into life colour starting to appear. Really beautiful Welsh Poppies (Meconopsis cambrica) in flower at the moment. The Vegetable garden is at last starting to warm up lots ready in cold-frames and glasshouses for planting out. Let’s hope the rabbits behave themselves. I feel that the rabbit population has decreased a bit this year maybe I am counting my chickens (or rabbits) too soon it’s early yet.


The pieces of sculpture are being placed, along the Woodland Walk, now for the Strokestown Park Schools sculpture competition, all will be in place for the June Bank Holiday Weekend. The Squirrels have really started to get used to us and are making great use of the feeders, thanks to Jim and Grace for this great photo.

A Cold Spell

Friday, 15 March 2013 12:21 Published in Garden Blog

Well that has been a cold spell as low as minus 5 Celsius at night; the wind chill some days was so bad. Warming up a bit now again, thank goodness.

Some plants are showing the signs of the cold weather a few tips burned but nothing too serious I think.

Lots happening in the glasshouses at the moment Peaches in flower, will need help with pollination soon. Seedlings emerging also. Even though it has been cold it has been dry and sunny too so the glasshouses built up some heat during the day.

Out in the vegetable garden some growth too. Rhubarb is looking good and mysteriously rows of parsnips have emerged, we thought the slugs had eaten these last year (imagine false accusations against slugs).

Herbaceous border staying quiet at the moment very small bit of growth. Birds and squirrel are really feeding continuously from feeders these days hard to keep them filled.

Happy Saint Patricks Day.

Scent in the Garden

Monday, 04 March 2013 12:39 Published in Garden Blog

Lots of Spring bulbs are beginning to show their colour now in the Walled garden I would say in a few weeks time they should be in full bloom. The Hellebores are still in full flower also.

However I feel that any plant that provides scent at this time of year is worth its weight in gold. One such plant in full flower at the moment is Daphne mezereum a truly wonderful shrub, beautiful lilac flowers along the stems and the sweetest most delicate scent.

Work is ongoing in all areas of the Walled Garden; rotavating is starting in the vegetable garden, ground lovely and dry at the moment and still a bit of frost at night to help break up any clumps.

The Glasshouses have received a disinfecting and sowing has begun. We have begun a programme of sowing concentrating on perennials should help fill out any bare patches in the Herbaceous Border.

Out in the woods birds and Red squirrels are emptying the feeders continuously great to see this. Getting ready for The Strokestown Park Easter Egg Hunt and Family Fun Day in the Walled Gardens on Easter Sunday should be a great day like last year.

Spring is on its way????

Friday, 18 January 2013 12:06 Published in Garden Blog

Happy new year to all. Well it has been a fairly mild Winter so far no really serious frost. Although saying that it has now started to snow I hope I am not speaking too soon. Lots of work going on in the walled garden, fruit bushes have been pruned, now pruning all wall trained apple trees. Good time of year to give glass-houses a thorough clean getting into all the corners to get rid of overwintering pests.

Really great to see Spring bulbs peeping above the ground and hooray the Hellebores have begun to flower I am always in awe of these flowers, remember you really have to get down and look into these flowers to appreciate them. The woodlands are doing fine we are keeping the bird and squirrel feeders well stocked, the red squirrels have continued to visit feeding boxes throughout the Winter.

The Strokestown Park Schools Sculpture Competition is on again this year first of the schools have visited. This year the competition is open to secondary schools in Roscommon, Leitrim, Longford and Mayo – The theme is The Gathering.

Let’s hope for a great Gardening year.

Best Autumn Colour

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 12:32 Published in Garden Blog

Autumn at last, the garden and woodlands can have a rest but not the gardeners. Work has begun on the herbaceous border, Alchemilla mollis (ladys mantle) is being cut back and generally tidied up. Lots of decisions to be made re dividing etc and where new plants are needed. Did a lot of work recently on drainage just making sure that the exits of culverts are fee of leaves and branched.

In the vegetable garden digging has started and general clearing of beds. Plan on making use of cardboard for mulching next year. Time to plant garlic and to sow sweet pea. In the woodlands leaves are coming down fast but have to say that in general this has been the best Autumn colour in a very long time. Congrats to CBS Roscommon their piece of Sculpture entitled Blind Faith won the Roscommon Schools Sculpture Competition.


Tuesday, 18 September 2012 09:11 Published in Garden Blog

Really lovely Autumn weather these days. Sunny days and cool evenings, hoping for some really good Autumn colour. Garden is starting to go into its wind down mode. In the Herbaceous Border Asters are starting to give some colour and the Crinum lilies (Crinum powellii) are looking really well. The crinum lilies in the border are original to the garden we have some really big clumps of them that never let us down.

The veg garden is great at the moment lots of Apples coming into the Woodland Walk Cafe and spinach, chard, cabbage, beetroot and tomatoes. Ground prep will start now for next year. Want to try some green manures on some of the beds, will keep you posted. Will spend a good bit of time this Winter sealing the garden to try and get some control on the rabbit numbers.

Good time to give glass-houses a clean for heading into Winter.

On Sunday we had 16 volunteers from Investec Specialist Bank working in the woodlands. They put protective tubes on 400 trees and removed tubes that needed removing from about 300 trees. Thank you very much your help is really appreciated. Don’t forget you can still vote for the Roscommon Schools Sculpture competition.

It is the perfect time of year to get out and enjoy our woodlands.

Visitors to the Walled Garden

Monday, 03 September 2012 12:52 Published in Garden Blog




Visitors to the Walled Garden

We are in Autumn wow, how the Summer has passed so quickly. Many will ask what Summer??? It has been one of the most difficult gardening years in a long time, but like all gardeners we soldier on. Some success in the vegetable garden we had a great crop of potatoes and lots of spinach and chard. The apple crop seems very good too. Our newly planted trees did not dry out at any stage (ha).

Of course pests were a major problem, mainly slugs and our good old friend the Rabbit. All we can do really is get on with it. There will always be gardening challenges.

Bob Reilly the renowned horticulturalist from Athenry visited last Thursday with a group of horticulturalists from Galway, we had a really great time in the walled Garden and woodlands. Bob was delighted to get a chance to visit the Cotinus obovatus (American Smoke bush) that he so kindly donated to Strokestown Park Walled Gardens a few years ago, great to see it has grown so well. See pic.

Planting Spring bulbs in container these days also, have leeks planted out for Winter too. This coming weekend Strokestown Agricultural Show is on the grounds Saturday and Sunday 8th & 9th September  should be a great weekend.

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