The new National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park House and Gardens, in Co. Roscommon, has been officially opened by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin.
According to a statement published on FailteIreland.ie, the new museum has been developed by the Irish Heritage Trust in partnership with Fáilte Ireland and the owners of the property, Westward Holdings, following a Fáilte Ireland grant of €3.9 million.
The museum will directly provide 26 full-time, seasonal and part-time jobs, and indirectly lead to 65 additional, sustainable jobs within the wider tourism sector and economy over the next decade.
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The statement published on FailteIreland.ie quotes Minister Martin as saying, “It is my pleasure to officially open the new National Famine Museum here at Strokestown Park today. This significant new museum and visitor experience retells the story of the Famine in a captivating way, and is expected to attract 115,000 visitors annually by its tenth year of operation, driving tourism in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. The National Famine Museum is an important addition to the visitor experience, both locally and nationally, and will serve to engage and educate visitors from at home and abroad and preserve the stories of the Great Irish Famine.”
The statement published on FailteIreland.ie also quotes its CEO, Paul Kelly, as saying, “Fáilte Ireland is committed to developing unique visitor experiences in regional areas, and our investment of €3.9 million in the National Famine Museum will generate €25 million in economic benefits for Roscommon and the wider Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands region, as well as supporting the creation of 65 jobs in the area over the next ten years. Following this development, in partnership with the Irish Heritage Trust and Westward Holdings, the National Famine Museum is now a key visitor experience in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and will encourage domestic and international visitors to come and explore Roscommon and the surrounding area, generating significant economic benefits for the local community.”
The statement published on FailteIreland.ie quotes Irish Heritage Trust CEO Anne O’Donoghue as saying, “We would like to thank Fáilte Ireland and Westward Holdings Ltd for their generous support to realise the vision of bringing compelling stories from the Great Irish Famine powerfully to life for people of all ages, in an innovative way. We look forward to welcoming visitors from across Ireland and overseas to enjoy this wonderful new visitor experience, with three attractions at one destination: the immersive National Famine Museum; the guided tour of the Palladian House, with its original furnishings and features; and the historic walled gardens and woodland walk. Visitors can also enjoy the delicious food on offer in our contemporary Woodland Café, located in the old granary of Strokestown Park House, with the best sustainably produced local ingredients.”
The statement published on FailteIreland.ie quotes Westward Holdings’ director, Jim Callery, as saying, “It is wonderful to be here today, 43 years after I found the famine plea from the tenants of Cloonahee – the townland I was born and reared in, and where I still live today – when I first explored the house in 1979. This document saved Strokestown Park and its archive. The museum tells the story of the Great Famine with a new perspective and will also, I hope, help people to understand that our past is someone else’s present, as is evident in the mass migration of today. I applaud the marvellous recent regeneration, and I am glad it is in the safe hands of, and under the care of, the Irish Heritage Trust.”
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