Note: At the time of construction of the Workhouse, Birr was known as Parsonstown and County Offaly was known as King's County.
The following information was provided by Mr Steve Dolan, Manager of The Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna, Co. Galway
The Birr Poor Law Union was officially declared in 1839. The Workhouse was opened in 1842 at a cost of £8,285. It was built to house a maximum capacity of 800 inmates, but census records show that the true number of inmates reached as high as 2,300 in 1849. The Birr Workhouse was built to accomodate people from the areas of Aglishcloghane, Banagher, Ballingarry, Dorha, Drumcillen, Eglish, Ferbane, Frankfort, Kilcolesman, Kinnety, Lemanagan, Letter, Lockeen, Lorha, Lusmagh, Seirkyrans, Parsonstown (Birr), Shannon Bridge, Shannon Harbour, Tissarin, and Uskeane.
Birr Workhouse was closed in 1921 and has been used by a number of different small businesses throughout the years. Recent announcements have revealed that the building is going to be redeveloped as a dementia care facility.
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