I attended the Third Annual International Famine Conference in July 2013. The conference was very well organized, and the staff members – especially John and Jackie – could not have been nicer or more efficient. For example, I was astounded that, after meeting each conference participant just once, they remembered the participant's name. For first-time visitors, it's worth knowing that Strokestown Park is made up of a Georgian Palladian-style mansion (a "big house," many of which did not survive to the present day), some of its surviving gardens and woodlands, a museum of the Famine, an archives, a conference center, a gift shop, and a cafe.
The facilities at Strokestown Park are scrupulously clean, and clearly designed with the positive experience of the visitor in mind. I was surprised to see that at least one other reviewer here on Tripadvisor reported such a negative perception of his visit, but I would say this.
When visiting Strokestown, it's important to keep in mind the era during which the big houses were constructed. That world doesn't exist anymore, and it is a Herculean effort to keep one of the big houses operating in today's world. If visitors arrive expecting the splendor portrayed in the television drama "Downton Abbey," they might be disappointed. Strokestown Park Is real place with real expenses, overseen by a dedicated staff and equally dedicated family descendants. For a realistic view of what life at the big house at Strokestown Park was really like, might I recommend the TV3 documentary "The Big House" which, as of this writing in September 2013, is still available in various places online.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.