The Athy Poor Law Union was officially declared in 1841. The Workhouse was opened in 1844 at a cost of £6,630. It was built to house a maximum capacity of 600 inmates. The Athy Workhouse was built to accomodate people from the areas of Athy, Ballybracken, Castledermot, Davisdstown, Kilberry, Monasterevin, Moone, and Narraghmore in Co. Kildare, and Ballyadams, Dysertenos, Killabin, Moyana, Stradbally, and Tullamoy in Co. Laois, which at the time was called Queen's County.
A small number of nuns worked at the Athy Workhouse as nurses.
In 1922, after the formation of the Free State, the Athy Workhouse was repurposed as the county home and was renamed St Vincent's Hospital. The Workhouse still serves this purpose today with many of the original buildings still intact.
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