The Irish National Famine Museum stands in what was once the stables of the large Strokestown Manor house – an ironic location for a museum that chronicles the worst possible conditions to hit the workers and common people of Ireland in centuries.
The restored manor and park is a stark contrast to a museum dedicated to An Gorta Mor, or the Great Hunger as the Irish call it, which resulted in the death of over a million Irish citizens and the emigration of a million more.
The Strokestown Irish National Famine Museum houses one of the largest collections of photos, documents, and exhibits pertaining to the potato blight in the whole country. It is an outstanding and haunting glimpse of the horrors of the Great Famine and what workers had to do during it to survive. It also houses the history of the Strokestown Manor and highlights the disconnect between the wealthy and those who worked for them. The museum chronicles the conditions of Strokestown’s large workhouse, noting that over 5,000 people died or emigrated from that location alone. The landlord was eventually assassinated at the height of the Famine and the house slowly fell into ruin until restoration began. All documents and tools in the museum were uncovered during that restoration.
The Irish National Famine Museum is well lit and accessible. The self-guided tour includes an audio/visual room that lasts approximately ten minutes per cycle. The entire tour can take anywhere from 30 - 90 minutes, depending on how much reading you want to do and if you’re lucky, when you exit the museum you may be offered a tour of the Manor as well. The museum tour closes with a large exhibit that showcases starvation and famine in the world today and it aims to educate people in both the history and the future of hunger across the world.