Launch of Treasures of the Strokestown Famine Archive virtual exhibit.

With Dr Jason King of Irish Heritage Trust at the new National Irish Famine Museum at Strokestown Park House

It was a real pleasure to be back in Strokestown Park House on Saturday for a very special event ‘Archive to Arts’ which marked the launch of Treasures of the Strokestown Famine Archive Virtual Exhibit.

Strokestown Park’s collection of records and documents is a real treasure trove with over 50,000 documents and items which will help provide huge information about the parallel lives of tenants of Strokestown and its landowners, the Mahon family during a turbulent and tragic time in Irish history.

As a writer I often spend a huge amount of time researching and using archives so it is great to mark the start of an exciting project which will over time make parts of the collection with its valuable letters, petitions and eviction and emigration lists available digitally to all those with an interest in Strokestown Park House and the Great Irish Famine.

It was also a great opportunity for me to see the redesigned National Famine Museum which only recently reopened after a huge upgrade and tells the Strokestown Story in a hugely immersive way. Set in a bright new airy space with a lovely café it is well worth visiting.

The day was spent discussing the varied aspects of artists using archives to inspire their work, be it in theatre and performance, literature or art or music and how using archives can not only inform us but be a catalyst for something new. Other speakers included Anne -Marie O’Sullivan of Enchanted Croi Theatre, Professor Mark McGowan, Professor Kevin Whelan and singer and writer Declan O’Rourke.

With Anne-Marie O’ Sullivan, Declan O Rourke and Carolin Callery of Strokestown Park House

                    Archives to Arts 

It is a real treat to be invited to return to Strokestown Park House and the National Famine Museum in Roscommon and to take part in  a very special event focused on Archives to Arts and Bringing the Strokestown Archive to life on Saturday 24th September.  

The Museum itself has only recently reopened with a new look after having a wonderful five million euro upgrade during the necessary Covid closedown, with an international panel of Famine experts overseeing the project.

To have an archive of over 50, 000 documents available that provide an insight into the parallel lives of tenants and the landlord is a real treasure for all of us with an interest in the past. As a writer having access to archives is invaluable and plays a huge part in the creation of my work and enriches it often sparking new ideas and stories and books that I simply have to write.

Among the panelists are singer and writer Declan O’Rourke and Anne-Marie O’ Sullivan of Enchanted Croi Theatre and there will be a screening of ‘Treasures of the Strokestown Famine Archive in the National Library’ presented by Professor Mark McGowan.

‘The Hungry Road’ Book Launch

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Pat Donlon, Marita and Fiona Murphy of Transworld Ireland

Exciting times with the launch of my new book The Hungry Road at Eason’s book shop in Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre in Dublin on Thursday.  It was great to see so many friends and family brave the elements to come along to celebrate with me on this very special night.    My agent, Caroline Sheldon came all the way from London to cheer me on.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my wonderful publisher Fiona Murphy of Transworld Ireland who encouraged me every step of the way with this epic novel about The Great Hunger. My friend Pat Donlon, former director of The National Library of Ireland kindly agreed to launch ‘The Hungry Road’ for me.  I felt it was serendipity as she has played such a big part in my writing career and was the one who launched my first book ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’.

Thank you to Eason’s who looked after the large crowd really well. They have always been so kind and so supportive to me over all my years of writing and publishing.

The launch party continued as the merry crew made our way to Davy Byrne’s to mark the occasion of the publication of The Hungry Road.  A heartfelt thanks to everyone for helping to make it such a memorable  book launch.

Caroline Sheldon, Pat Donlon, Marita and Fiona Murphy.      P.L. Lynch and Marita