Wexford's Johnstown Castle. Agricultural Museum. So Much More

Wexford's Johnstown Castle.

Agricultural Museum. So Much More
Wexford’s Johnstown Castle  is a must visit. I enjoyed my first trip there more than a decade ago and it was even better second time around. It is the home of the Irish Agricultural Museum and current highlights include a Country Kitchens exhibition and a very informative Great Famine exhibition.

Barrel-top caravan and Horse-drawn bread delivery wagon.
The castle itself is not open to the public but you can take a walk around the grounds as well, see the lakes, the walled garden and the sunken garden and there is a Tearoom and Shop in the museum area. Today Teagasc, the Agricultural and Food Development Authority, is the owner of the Johnstown Castle estate and has a research facility on site.

The museum is divided into 18 exhibition areas. And the first section that caught my eye last month was the Transport area, in particular, the brightly painted bread delivery van, a horse drawn one. There are other horse drawn vehicles, carts and traps and a reaper, and more on display here.
Horse-drawn hay cutter and Ford Model 8 Nan Tractor (1947-52)
There is a Tractor Room, a Garden Machine Room, a display of Power-Driven Barn Machines. Poultry Keeping and Country Furniture also have their displays. Checked them all out and I also enjoyed a browse around the Dairy Exhibition.  Dairying is one of the timeless industries, producing the same product as it has done for thousands of years. This exhibition traces developments in dairying from hand milking to mechanical milking machines. The traditional methods of butter-making are also explored here.

It is also worth lingering by the Bicycle display which exhibits a variety of bikes, dating from 1885 – 1965, including one with a solid tyre (marketed as a safety bicycle) and a garda cycle. This room also includes bicycles made by Pierce of Wexford who were primarily farm machinery manufacturers and who indeed are well represented in the various machine areas.
Must say that I enjoyed the Country Kitchens area as much as any other. This, and the Famine area, are designed for the younger folk but I had no hesitation in picking up the information leaflets, full of facts and well laid out.

The Kitchens Display includes an Early 19th Century Kitchen, two from the 20th century, an account of Rural Electrification and a display on Laundry (washing, soap, drying and ironing). Lots of artefacts on display to help understand the way we were.
An outdoor larder and Hand Wringer
The Great Famine Exhibition, is probably one of the best I’ve come across on the subject and, with words and artefacts, it covers Pre Famine Ireland, the Arrival of Blight, The Famine 1845-49, The Soup Kitchen, The Workhouse, Emmigration, Post Famine, Potatoes Today and the Lessons of the Famine.

A chart on the display says the Irish male was consuming 6.4kgs (14 lbs) of potatoes per day in pre-famine times. After the famine, people made sure they never became so dependant on the potato again.

See also: Wexford's Archways, so much more than a B&B
Mr Jeffares Blackcurrants
Used this "machine", on right, myself
to spray against blight.


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