The European Commission and Europa Nostra 2017 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, is Europe’s top honour in the heritage field. Twenty-nine laureates from eighteen countries have been recognised for their notable achievements in conservation, research, dedicated service, education, training, and awareness-raising.
You can vote online for the Public Choice Award and be in with a chance to win a trip for two to Finland and be a special guest at the Awards Ceremony in the historic city of Turku on 15 May. During the ceremony, the seven Grand Prix laureates, each of whom will receive €10,000, and the Public Choice Award winner, chosen from among this year’s winning projects, will be announced.
Mr.Callery bought the country estate of Strokestown Park in 1979 in a state of complete and advancing decay. He has since spent millions of his own money, along with help from European Union funds, on its recovery. The jury noted that he has enabled an expert restoration of the house, opened it to the Irish public, and ensured the preservation of this important memorial to the Irish Famine.
Strokestown Park and The Irish Heritage Trust commented, 'We are really honoured here at Strokestown Park that Jim Callery’s lifetime work is now being acknowledged. Jim has done incredible work over the years to save Strokestown and its wealth of history and ensure that the local community is benefitting. The Irish Heritage Trust is delighted to be working with the Strokestown team since 2015 to operate this special place for future generations to enjoy.'
The Callery Family added, 'We as a family are exceedingly proud of this highly prestigious European Award. We have for over three decades watched our father toil and battle to save Strokestown Park and it's now a world renowned Famine Archive. Close to 35 years ago a chance stumbling upon the now famous Cloonahee Famine Petition fell into the hands of our father and the fate of Strokestown Park was changed forever. With great vision, personal finance and dedication he gave back to innumerable Famine Victims their own voices and dignified them by remembering them and their stories.'
'The Great Irish Famine was the largest catastrophe of 19th century Europe and this European Award in the Individual Dedicated Services category is timely and fitting. We are delighted for the past two years to be working alongside the Irish Heritage Trust and the vital work they do operating and ensuring that this truly unique and special place will be there for future generations to enjoy.'
Read more about the Famine Museum at Stroketown House here. Many thanks to John O'Driscoll, General Manager of Strokestown Park for his help with this piece.