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A Forgotten Polish Hero of the Great Irish Famine

Admission free

The Museum is delighted to host an exhibition about the fascinating life and achievements of Paul Strzelecki – a Polish humanitarian who helped over 200,000 children during the Great Irish Famine.

Curated by Nikola Sękowska-Moroney at the Polish Embassy in Dublin, the exhibition is on display as part of a nationwide tour of various venues throughout Ireland.

The content of the exhibition was commissioned from leading experts in the field – Prof. Peter Gray (Queen’s University Belfast) and Assoc. Prof. Emily Mark-FitzGerald (University College Dublin) – and includes several rarely seen images of Famine relief and charity, drawn from collections of major museums and libraries in Ireland, Britain, Australia and the United States.

Count Paul (Paweł) Strzelecki was a world-renowned Polish explorer and scientist, who volunteered to work in Ireland to combat raging Famine over a three-year period (1847-49) as the main agent of the British Relief Association (B.R.A).

In order to alleviate the critical situation of famished Irish families and especially children, Strzelecki developed a visionary and exceptionally effective mode of assistance: feeding starving children directly through the schools.

He extended daily food rations to schoolchildren across the most famine-stricken western part of Ireland, while also distributing clothing and promoting basic hygiene.

At its peak in 1848, around 200,000 children from all denominations were being fed through the efforts of the B.R.A., many of whom would have otherwise perished from hunger and disease.

Despite suffering from the effects of typhoid fever he contracted in Ireland, Strzelecki dedicated himself tirelessly to hunger relief. His commitment was widely recognised and praised by his contemporaries, and this exhibition endeavours to bring his achievements and legacy back into the public eye.

The exhibition was first launched on 8 May 2019 by the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, hosted by the Royal Irish Academy up until the end of August 2019. It has since been on display at various venues throughout Ireland.

A Forgotten Polish Hero of the Great Irish Famine: Paul Strzelecki’s Struggle to Save Thousands is on display at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, until September 2021.

It is presented in English and admission is free.

Exhibition panels can be downloaded here.

For further information on the exhibition, visit



A Forgotten Polish Hero of the Great Irish Famine is located at:
Turlough Park,
Co. Mayo
F23 HY31

Paul Strzelecki’s Struggle to Save Thousands

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Country Life

Turlough Park,
Co. Mayo,
F23 HY31

+353 94 903 1755