The National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park, Roscommon is to host the historical exhibition “A Forgotten Polish Hero of the Great Irish Famine: Paul Strzelecki’s Struggle to Save Thousands” ” from 14th March to 24th May 2020.
This exhibition by the Polish Embassy in Dublin explores the fascinating life and achievements of Count Paul (Paweł) Strzelecki, one of the great humanitarians of the 19th century, whose contributions to Irish Famine relief have yet to be widely known and commemorated. The exhibition is in English and entrance is included in the entrance fee to the National Famine Museum.
Count Paul (Paweł) Strzelecki, a world-renowned Polish explorer and scientist, volunteered to work in Ireland to combat raging Famine over a three-year period (1847-49) as the main agent of the British Relief Association (B.R.A). Despite suffering from the effects of typhoid fever he contracted in Ireland, Strzelecki dedicated himself tirelessly to hunger relief. His commitment was widely recognized and praised by his contemporaries, and this exhibition endeavours to bring his achievements and legacy back into the public eye.
“The Irish Heritage Trust is delighted to be hosting its first touring exhibition at all of its historic properties during 2020, beginning at the National Famine Museum,” said Dr Emma O’Toole, Collections & Interpretation Manager at the Irish Heritage Trust. The exhibition will then travel to our other historic properties during the summer – Fota House & Gardens, Cork, and Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum & Gardens, Wexford.”
The content of the exhibition was commissioned by the Polish Embassy from leading experts in the field – Prof. Peter Gray (Queen’s University Belfast) and Assoc. Prof. Emily Mark-FitzGerald (University College Dublin) – and includes several rarely seen images of Famine relief and charity, drawn from collections of major museums and libraries in Ireland, Britain, Australia and the United States.
In order to alleviate the critical situation of famished Irish families and especially children, Strzelecki developed a visionary and exceptionally effective mode of assistance: feeding starving children directly through the schools. He extended daily food rations to schoolchildren across the most famine-stricken western part of Ireland, while also distributing clothing and promoting basic hygiene. At its peak in 1848, around 200,000 children from all denominations were being fed through the efforts of the B.R.A., many of whom would have otherwise perished from hunger and disease.
Since 2015 Strokestown Park and the National Famine Museum are managed by the Irish Heritage Trust, an independent charity, which cares for and brings back to life historic properties, houses and gardens throughout Ireland. In October 2019, a grant of over €5 million was announced for a new, state-of-the-art National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park with the objective of offering an innovative visitor experience and world-class heritage tourist attraction at Strokestown Park in 2021
For information on other venues and dates visit www.strzelecki.ie.