In autumn 2020, the Irish Heritage Trust was delighted to have received two grants from the Heritage Council of Ireland’s Community Heritage Grant for the conservation of two significant archives at its properties Strokestown Park and the National Famine Museum, Roscommon and Johnstown Castle, Estate, Museum & Gardens, Wexford. A total of 313 applications were made to the Heritage Council of Ireland for the Community Heritage Grant, and the Trust has been awarded two of the 68 that were successful.
These archive conservation projects were undertaken by our dedicated and specialised teams on the ground and we look forward to sharing the results of this work, as part of the Irish Heritage Trust’s “Conservation in Action” programme.
A grant of €8,000 was awarded for the “Professional conservation of 90 paper leases in the Strokestown Park Archives, as part of the professional cataloguing and preservation of the documents”.
The Archive at Strokestown Park is a rare example of an intact Estate Records Collection dating from the late C18th to the mid C20th centuries. In 2019 a professional archivist, Martin Fagan, was appointed to process the collection with the aim of making this resource publicly accessible to researchers.
Conservation work was carried out by an ICRI accredited conservator, Benjamin van de Wetering of The Ox Bindery. The aim is to make these C18th-C19th leases accessible to the community of historical researchers who will be encouraged to use these newly opened records as a historical source. These will also be interesting for academics, who will extract quantitative data on tenant-occupied land on a typical landed estate prior to the Famine.
“This fascinating resource will be of great interest to local or family historians who will find references to tenant names and townlands for a period in Irish history where few census records survive”, said Archivist Martin Fagan who worked on the project. “These C18th-C19th leases, used in conjunction with Estate Rentals and 100 previously-conserved leases, will provide researchers with a unique overview of small-scale landholding on the estate prior to the upheaval and depopulation of The Famine”, he continued.
This project received funding from the Heritage Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage in 2020.