The Irish Workhouse Museum officially launched in May 2019 and tells the story of the Irish workhouse, a sad yet little-known part of Ireland’s past. 163 workhouses were built in Ireland throughout history, the last resort of the destitute poor from the 1840s-1920s.
At the Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna, you can get a real insight into what life in a workhouse was really like. All seven workhouse buildings are intact. Visitors enter via the waiting room – the actual room people came through when seeking admission to the workhouse. A short film is then shown in what was the girls’ classroom. After this, visitors are guided through the girls’ yard and the women’s dormitory block, including the matron’s quarters, the nursery, the women’s workroom and the laundry.
The centre is a work-in-progress, so visitors also have the opportunity to learn about ongoing conservation and restoration work.