Our Heritage Week 2020 project is based on the recently opened diary of Olive King Harman, née Pakenham Mahon of Strokestown Park, County Roscommon.
This 10 minute audio/visual piece has come about through the ongoing collaboration between an archivist and an actress, who, combining their very different perspectives and skills, are endeavouring to bring archives to life in authentic and relatable ways.
Olive, the 20 year old heiress to Strokestown Park had married Edward Stafford King Harman, heir to the Rockingham Estate, in July 1914. It was a love match which brought together the two largest land-owning families in County Roscommon. The newly-weds were soon separated when Edward, a captain in the Irish Guards, followed his regiment to the Western Front in September 1914.
Olive bought a handsome black diary and began recording her thoughts, hopes and fears – her future out of her control and at the mercy of world events.
When Olive’s locked diary was discovered in Strokestown Park House it had no key.
In March 2020 the lock was finally picked and for the first time the secrets within were revealed.
Created and produced by Anne-Marie O’Sullivan of Enchanted Croí Theatre Company and Martin Fagan, Archivist, Strokestown Park and National Famine Museum, An Irish Heritage Trust Property.
Filmed and recorded in Strokestown Park House, July 2020.