by ehistoryadmin on November 28, 2014


You are cordially invited to the launch of



Ciarán Reilly

on Wednesday 3 December 2014 at 7.00 p.m.

John Paul II Library, Maynooth University

Professor Marian Lyons, Head of Department of History, Maynooth University will speak


Four Courts Press |

To learn more about this book, visit the Four Courts Press website at 

‘The most in-depth study of the effects of the Famine on a landed estate and its community … With the help of this book, we are brought deep inside the actuality of life during the Famine era. Some of our pre-conceived ideas of what actually transpired during that appalling era are challenged. Highlighted too is the important role played by the Irish National Famine Museum at Strokestown, now in its twentieth year.’ Mary McAleese, from the foreword

Strokestown and the Great Irish Famine

Ciarán Reilly

The Strokestown Park Archive is one of the largest estate collections in existence with more than 50,000 documents comprising rentals, leases, accounts, correspondence, maps, drawings, architectural plans and photographs. Of particular importance are the papers that relate to the Great Irish Famine. This book aims to introduce the reader to the archive and to provide a microscopic insight into the many and varied experiences of Famine for those who inhabited the estate in the 1840s. Documents from the archive, many of which have not seen the light of day since they were generated almost 170 years ago, illuminate the text and provide the reader with a unique insight into Famine Ireland. Although the 1990s (and later) witnessed an outpouring of scholarly work on the Great Famine to commemorate the sesquicentenary, only a handful of studies examined the impact of Famine on individual landed estates. In the social memory of the Great Famine at Strokestown, the assisted emigration of 1,490 people to Canada, the murder of Major Denis Mahon in 1847 and the subsequent clearance of as many as 3,000 tenants from the estate between 1848 to 1851 predominates. While, it is certainly true that the emigration schemes and the clearances caused considerable unrest, which contributed to the murder of Denis Mahon, social memory, if left untested, can hide many other complexities of the Famine. The existence of the Strokestown Famine archive highlights that there are still major questions to be answered in relation to the greatest social calamity in modern Irish history. For example, how widespread and effective were local efforts to alleviate the plight of the impoverished? How did the local community react to the clearance of thousands of people? Who benefited from these clearances? How did those who emigrated fare in their receiving communities? This book attempts to answer some of these crucial questions.

Ciarán Reilly is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates at Maynooth University. He is the author of The Irish Land Agent, 1830-60: the case of King’s County (2014) and John Plunket Joly and the Great Famine in King’s County (2012).




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