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Heritage and History at the Heart of New National Famine Museum

The new National Famine Museum in Strokestown Park House & Gardens in Co. Roscommon is set to be re-developed into a world-class must-visit national museum and the first steps of the re-development are underway as Fáilte Ireland and the Irish Heritage Trust break ground on the €5 million project.

The National Famine Museum will tell the story of the Great Hunger in an engaging and respectful way and Fáilte Ireland predicts it will bring over 50,000 more visitors and €13.2million in additional revenue to the area over the next 5 years. In addition, a new visitor centre and café will also be developed at Strokestown Park, transforming the estate into a sustainable heritage visitor attraction.

Welcoming the commencement of construction, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD said, “the new National Famine Museum will be the first museum dedicated to telling the story of the Great Hunger/An Górta Mór. This hugely tragic and significant period in Irish history is not only of importance to Irish citizens, but to overseas visitors as well, allowing them to learn more about our rich and storied past. The Government is pleased to support the development of this new museum, which will add to Ireland’s tourism attraction portfolio and stimulate jobs in the region.”

Speaking at the sod-turning event on Saturday at Strokestown Park, Minister of Social Protection, Community, Rural Development and Justice Heather Humphreys TD said, “this capital project is a major boost for Roscommon and I am delighted to be here to mark this milestone for the region and for Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. It is encouraging to see how Strokestown Park’s new, state-of-the-art National Famine Museum and Visitor Centre will positively impact the community and support the local economy in the near future. I wish all involved every success in the completion of the project in 2022.”

The National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park House and Gardens was awarded funding of €3.75 million under Fáilte Ireland’s Grants Scheme for Large Tourism Projects 2016-2020. The total project cost, including €1.25 million funding from the owners of Strokestown Park House, Westward Holdings Ltd, in partnership with the Irish Heritage Trust, will be €5 million. This is one of over 50 capital projects Fáilte Ireland is supporting across the country, all of which will deliver new and enhanced tourism experiences for domestic and international visitors. 

Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Product Development – Attractions, Mary Stack, added, “developing must-visit attractions for domestic and international visitors is a key part of our recovery post COVID. Fáilte Ireland is committed to developing world-class attractions around Ireland, particularly in regional locations.”

The new National Famine Museum in the beautiful setting of Strokestown Park House and Gardens will offer a unique insight into this part of our history and it will appeal to what our core markets are actively looking for; immersive experiences that bring to life stories that have shaped Ireland’s heritage and culture. This is our largest investment in a visitor attraction in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands in the last ten years. It will be a major draw to the area and will bring significant visitor numbers and revenue to the wider region.”

Anne O’Donoghue, CEO of the Irish Heritage Trust, continued, “we are delighted to reach this stage of the €5 million capital programme transforming Strokestown Park’s National Famine Museum into a world-class heritage tourist attraction of national and international importance.”

“We are immensely grateful to Fáilte Ireland, and Westward Holdings Ltd., for partnering us on this exciting journey and we would also like to acknowledge the ongoing support for Strokestown Park from Roscommon County Council and the surrounding community in Strokestown. As we enter this new phase of development we are passionate about delivering on the Irish Heritage Trust’s mission of sharing wonderful places and developing innovative visitor experiences.”

Patrick Kenny of Westward Holdings Ltd commented, “it is wonderful to bring this exciting project to fruition with our strategic partner the Irish Heritage Trust. Strokestown Park and the National Famine Museum are central to the telling of the story of the Great Irish Famine and by bringing stories from the Strokestown Archives to the widest possible audience, we are continuing to realise the vision of Jim Callery who saved this wonderful property and its Archive in 1979”

Source: Fáilte Ireland

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