Asphalt Safari - Strokestown and Around

We woke up early on our last day in the outskirts of Galway and walked up the street to the castle in the backyard of our hotel in Oranmore.  You just don't see this sort of thing when you stay in hotels in the US.  Aside from the satellite dish that we saw on the side of the structure, it was very authentic feeling.
On our drive back to Dublin, we decided to detour into County Roscommon.  I recently read the book The Killing of Major Denis Mahon which is a historical account of the murder of an Irish landlord in the context of the Great Famine.  I definitely recommend the book -- it gives some detailed history on the devastation that the famine wrought on the Irish people.  At any rate, this relates to our story today in that Mahon owned Strokestown Park House in County Roscommon and the estate now houses the Famine Museum. We definitely thought it was worth stopping by since we were practically passing through.

Before we arrived in Strokestown, we stopped for a coffee in Roscommon town and took a bit of a walk around.  I saw this lovely horse in a field behind a strip mall  She trotted over to see us when we walked up to the fence above her pasture.
We arrived amid clouds and rain to the Strokestown Park House.  It's an impressive Palladian mansion.  That said, the architectural style is designed to impress while keeping costs down.  The house is not nearly as large as it appears from the outside.
The interior decorating was...um...interesting.  These stacked antlers on the staircase make quite an impression.
I liked this rather stunned ceramic figurine in the nursery.
Here's something that no kitchen should be without -- a bucket of leeches!
Despite the fact that the house was lived in as a residence until the late 1980s, the original kitchen was discovered and restored behind a wall created in a more modern renovation.
The gardens were particularly lovely.  The rain had stopped so we took some time to explore.
I liked this scarecrow standing guard over the plots of produce.
I took a walk through this greenhouse on the premises filled with colorful flowers.
We saw all sorts of produce growing, from apples climbing the stone wall below to giant carrots to lettuce, and more.
There were no potatoes planted (at least none that I saw).  Perhaps that's not surprising considering the havoc caused by the crop failure in the 1850s.  The famine museum was a solemn reminder of the suffering and loss of life that occurred during this dark period.  I'm glad we were able to visit and better understand the history and circumstances behind the blight.

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Sidewalk Safari: Asphalt Safari - Strokestown and Around
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Sidewalk Safari
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