Shirley's 2013 Trip travel blog

John & 'the young fella' putting the cows back in the shed...

A chafinch, I think, but I'm happy to be corrected.

I saw a promo on TV for a program which is being shown tonight called “The Big House” which features Strokestown Park House which is just down the road. Although I wasn’t feeling very well, I thought I should go & see it before watching the program.

The brochure also said that as well as being an 18th century Georgian mansion which has been faithfully restored, it was home to the National Irish Famine Museum which was an added attraction for me because John, the owner here has loaned me a book called “The Famine Plot” which was published last year. I’m only halfway through the book but I’m learning a lot & constantly reminded that these events don’t happen in isolation & they’re rarely as simple as they first appear. More about the famine later when I finish the book.

Of course it was raining when I arrived at 10:30 & was told that the next guided tour was at noon. Then I was told that the museum was in the process of being upgraded so only 5 of the 10 rooms were open. I paid my money then found out I had to walk to the other end of the parking lot, in the rain, then along beside a stone wall for a couple of hundred metres to get to the museum.

Of course, being the kind of day it was, the museum was a waste of time. All it had were information boards full of words which you could read in any brochure & the boards seemed to be duplicated in 2 of the rooms which didn’t improve my attitude. It was an insult to call it the National Museum.

Fortunately it had stopped raining by the time I’d finished but it didn’t take me very long so I still had to fill in the rest of my 1½ hours until the tour of the house. I’d noticed that the café had a wi-fi hotspot & I had my computer with me so sent off yesterday’s update & checked e-mails etc. which also didn’t take very long.

I kept mulling over the fact that I thought it was very insensitive for there to be a famine museum in a huge, ostentatious mansion whose only purpose was to demonstrate how much money these landlords had made from their tenants. The more I thought about it, the less I wanted to see their house, so I left.

The heating isn’t great in the cottage so John has offered to supply me with peat & firewood, which is very kind of him. I stopped off at the shopping centre & bought some kindling, etc & came home, spending the afternoon reading my famine book then cooked a chicken casserole for dinner.

The TV show wasn’t that great but might improve next week. They’ve found about 16 people whose ancestors worked at the house & have got them together to role-play for 4 days.

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