The Strokestown Estate, controlled over 11,000 acres across north-east Roscommon in the 18th century. But the Great Famine rocked its finances.
Its tyrannical landlord, Denis Mahon piled pressure on tenants who were struggling to survive in the already febrile atmosphere the Irish famine (1845 – 1847) had created.
When Mahon became the first Irish landlord to be assassinated during the famine in 1847, his murder provoked scandal and international debate.
But Mahon’s death marked the end of an era for Strokestown. Social changes were shifting power away from Ireland’s ‘Big Houses’, and, in the decades that followed, the influence Strokestown’s owners had wielded began to wane.
Conservation and commemoration
By the 1970s, this beautiful Roscommon house was at risk of ruin, but Strokestown House has been painstakingly conserved and senstively restored over the last 40 years. In fact, the Palladian mansion at Strokestown has been described as ‘the finest privately funded restoration project in Ireland’ (Curious Ireland).
Its former stable block is now home to the National Famine Museum, and the collections of artefacts and documents found within the house have helped to make Strokestown an important centre of learning, as well as a wonderful place to visit.
Our conservation story
Huge efforts have gone into the conservation of Strokestown House over a period of 40 years.
The house and its collections are now open to the public, to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, and Strokestown’s archive has become recognised as a globally significant resource for scholars of famine.
Strokestown House often plays host to scholars and activists who come to learn here and share ideas about the history of famine and efforts to eradicate hunger across the globe.