The National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park has become a centre for international study on the Irish Famine. The compelling Great Irish Famine Archive – most of which has not seen the light of day in over 170 years – was discovered by chance by Jim Callery in 1979 and led to the establishment of the National
Famine Museum at Strokestown. 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.
Since the 1990s, academic studies have been carried out providing major insights into the stories contained within the papers. Assisted emigration and the plight of the landless labourers and cottier class have been two very significant areas of interest. Some 1,490 tenants were part of an ‘assisted emigration’ scheme to Canada during the famine period and this has led to a research programme by the University of Toronto to uncover the life stories the ‘Missing 1490’ which is slowly following family threads through time in America and Canada.
Realising the full potential of this unique asset at Strokestown Park requires full-time professional attention. An international advisory committee has
been established to guide our work and the Strokestown Archive is now secure with part of it conserved and catalogued. This will unlock the multiple stories
contained within these documents for everyone to enjoy and learn from. We are fundraising for an archivist to start the process of examining these records to uncover the history, identify key themes and stories. We have a philanthropic offer to support this and are now already looking to match this funding so we can publicly share this extensive piece of Irish history.
If you wish to contribute to this project, please contact us or click on the Donate link below. More information will follow in the coming months.
“The archive is one of the largest collections of famine documents in the world ……….most of these documents have not seen the light of day since they were generated almost 170 years ago’”. Dr Ciaran Reilly, Maynooth University, Ireland