Back to my trip to Strokestown Park. I had a brilliant guided tour around the house. Our tour guide was Dara, he was very interesting and told us some great stories about the house and it’s occupants. We also got to see possibly the scariest dolls in the world!
It was great to see the rooms and imagine how the occupants would have lived. The house belonged to the Mahon family from the 1700’s until 1979 when it was purchased by a local company, Westward Garage, who needed a few more acres to expand their business. Dara told us that Olive Packenham-Mahon, who lived there at the time, told the owner of the garage he either buy the whole park or nothing at all.
The garage negotiated a deal with the Mahon family to ensure that virtually all of the original furnishings would remain at Strokestown Park. The table above is a ‘wake table’, anyone who died belonging to the house would be laid out on the table, in the hallway. Visitors would call to pay their respects, walk in one side of the door, walk around the table to see the dead and walk out again!
There are many interesting stories connected to the house. One of them was concerning Sir. Edward Packenham (above), he was at war in The Battle of New Orleans. A ceasefire had been declared but the news hadn’t the reached the troops so Sir. Edward was actually killed during the ceasefire. The family wanted his body returned to Ireland so he was put in a barrel of rum to preserve him on the long voyage home. Dara said the other people on the boat ran out of alcohol during the journey so they actually drank the rum that Sir. Edward was kept in!
We headed back downstairs and saw the dining room, after dinner in the old days the ladies would retire to another room and leave the gentlemen in the dining room to discuss business. The trouble was the men didn’t want to leave the room to use the toilet incase someone talked about them behind their back so the poor butler had to bring in a chamber pot which was passed around the table!
There are many more stories to be told but you’d be much better going on the tour yourself, you won’t be sorry. The rest of my photos from my visit to Strokestown Park are here.