The exhibition ‘Forgotten Voices: the Great Irish Famine revealed through the Strokestown Estate Archive’, organised by the OPW-NUI Maynooth Archive & Research Centre at Castletown, was formally launched by Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Dr. Patrick Wallace, at Castletown House in Celbridge, County Kildare, on Tuesday, 16th August, 2011.
The OPW-NUI Maynooth Archive & Research Centre at Castletown is dedicated to the care and study of archives and other sources dealing with Irish estates, their houses and inhabitants. This facility marks an important collaboration between the National University of Ireland Maynooth (including the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses & Estates, History Department and NUIM Library) and the Office of Public Works.
At the centre of the exhibition is a rich and varied selection of documents belonging to the Strokestown Estate Archive from the period of the Great Irish Famine (1845-51). Census records, emigration lists, and pleas from starving tenants are but a few of the documents on display, capturing in raw detail the devastation endured by local people in Roscommon during Ireland’s greatest humanitarian disaster on record. The archive brings to life once more many of the voices that were extinguished through starvation, disease and emigration during this period.
Consisting of over 40,000 documents, the archive of Strokestown Park House provides an intimate view of life on this Roscommon estate in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and records the daily activities taking place both inside and outside the big house. The purpose of the exhibition is to provide a flavour of some of the themes and document types often found in estate collections, and to promote the importance of our documentary heritage.
The Strokestown Estate Archive was transferred to the OPW-NUI Maynooth Archive & Research Centre at Castletown in 2008.
The exhibition is free of charge, and will run from 20th August to 10th September to coincide with Heritage Week and National Famine Commemoration Day 2011. It is supported by Kildare County Council.
For further details please contact the OPW-NUI Maynooth Archive & Research Centre at Castletown (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Pictured at the launch (l-r): Ms Roisin Berry, Senior Archivist, OPW-NUI Maynooth Archive and Research Centre at Castletown; Mr Cathal McCauley, Librarian NUI Maynooth; Dr Terry Dooley, CSHIHE, Dept of History, NUI Maynooth, Dr. Pat Wallace, Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Ms Clare McGrath, Chairman of the Office of Public Works and Prof Philip Nolan, President NUI Maynooth.