History of Strokestown
Strokestown was the site of the estate of the Anglo-Irish Mahon family from about 1671 until 1982.
On 2 November 1847 the patriarch of the family and landlord of the surrounding estate, Major Denis Mahon, was assassinated by several local men in an incident that became infamous across Ireland and Britain at the time. The killing was motivated by the removal of starving tenant farmers from the estate lands during the Irish Potato Famine of 1845. The killing of Denis Mahon did not halt the evictions, and eventually over 11,000 tenants were removed from the Mahon estate during that period.
The National Famine Museum commemorating the Great Famine of 1845 is located in Strokestown Park House, adjacent to the town.
Mary Lenahan, of Elphin Street, Strokestown (an ancestor of former Irish President Mary McAleese) was among 16 people recorded in the Strokestown Estate Famine Archive as having received grain meal gratuitously on 23 June 1846. The archive was deposited in November 2008 in the Maynooth Archive and Research Centre in Celbridge, Co. Kildare.
The Irish name of the town was originally Béal Atha na mBuillí and was anglicised as Bellanamully and Bellanamullia. The Irish name was edited down to the current Béal na mBuillí in the 1990s. This was done to fit the Irish town name on road signage.
The town's name means "the mouth of the ford of the strokes", with the “mouth” referring to the Bumlin River that runs through the demesne and "strokes" referring to ancient clan battles that took place there. Others believe that "strokes" signifies the use of agricultural instruments, which would have been widely used in the past.
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