Following on from the hugely successful ‘The Tenements’, on TV3, Bryan Murray is on a journey to discover the controversial history of The Big House in Ireland and to tell the story of the servants, without whom these houses could not have functioned.
For 100 years, life has stood still at Strokestown House, with every fixture and fitting remaining as it was. But this big house is set to come alive as they bring back the ancestors of men and women who lived and worked there - to bring to light a hidden history that until now has never been looked at.
By digging through the Strokestown Park archives and the census online TV3 have traced the descendants of The Big House, and it is these thirteen people who will return to Strokestown House in Roscommon to live and work exactly as their ancestors did.
We meet the Massey family from Hill of Down, Co Meath whose relative was the last butler at Strokestown Park House. PJ Massey has vivid memories of Butler Massey and is proud of this working heritage. The Frederick family from London has strong bonds to Strokestown as many of their female relatives worked at the house, while The Watters family’s connection to Lissadell House in Sligo dates back generations. Not much is known about this invisible work force who left little to no trace of their existence, so what will our staff discover of a way of life that has all but vanished in Ireland?
Jeff Ford, TV3 Director of Content said, “I am extremely excited about this programme which brings alive a significant period of Irish history. For the first time ever, Irish cameras follow people who have a real connection to these beautiful houses, as they re-enact the lives of their ancestors.”
The Big House, episode 1 airs Monday, April 29 at 9pm on TV3.