National Famine Museum

“Our families are really and truly suffering in our presence and we cannot much longer withstand their cries for food.  We have no food for them, our potatoes are rotten and we have no grain”.
Cloonahee Petition
22 August 1846
National Famine Museum Panels Strokestown House

Considered the single greatest social disaster of 19th century Europe, the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s decimated the island of Ireland, when in excess of two million people, almost one-quarter of the entire population, either died or emigrated. The National Famine Museum at Strokestown tells the story of this tragic chapter of Irish history through the words and stories of the very people who experienced it, while drawing parallels with contemporary famine events. 

When Jim Callery, founder of the Westward Group, was exploring the house following its purchase in 1979, he uncovered letters and documents relating to the estate. Amongst them was a letter dated 1846, written to Major Denis Mahon, who had once owned Strokestown Park, from one of his tenants, pleading for some form of relief as the potato crop had failed. This letter was just the start, and as more and more material emerged, it became clear that the Strokestown Park Archive revealed a vivid and emotional insight into the realities of life in Ireland during the Famine and is now considered one of the largest collections of famine related material in the world. 

Using original archive sources and artefacts, the National Famine Museum tells you stories of tenants and landlords, of the human cost and the long-term impact. It takes you on a journey through hunger and eviction, migration and assisted emigration, tragic deaths and assassinations and gives you an insight into a cataclysmic event that changed Ireland forever. 

The National Famine Museum is currently closed for redevelopment.

The new, state-of-the-art Museum will open in Summer 2022.