Carrick on Shannon WORKHOUSE

Carrick on ShannonCounty Leitrim

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Workhouse entrance block (from the south)

Teach na mBocht Chora Droma Rúisc aka Carrick on Shannon Workhouse (built in 1841) was declared fit for the admission of paupers on 1st July 1842 (and admitted its first inmates three weeks later). 

DISTRICT: Electoral Divisions covered by this PLU

Carrick-on-Shannon Poor Law Union served 8 electoral divisions in north Co. Roscommon and 7 in Co. Leitrim:

Co. Leitrim: Carrick-on-Shannon, Drumreilly, Drumsbambo, Drumsna, Kiltubbrid, Keskcarrigan, Leitrim.
Co. Roscommon: Aughrim, Creeve, Elphin, Gillstown, Killglass, Killukin (Boyle), Kilmore, Tumna.


During the famine years, Carrick-on-Shannon suffered greatly. By the end of 1846, the workhouse was bursting at the seams, with the inmates lacking food, clothing, proper sanitation, and having only straw for bedding. Diseases such as dysentery and typhus were rife and a dozen deaths a week were occurring (full account here). At the end of 1846, the Quaker James Tuke visited a number of workhouses and reported:

I have already stated that owing to the want of funds, great difficulty exists in many Unions in providing for the inmates. The worst which I visited was that of Carrick-on-Shannon (which opened in 1842); it is in a miserable state and the doors were closed against further admissions; and although built for 700 had but 280 inmates; gates were besieged by seventy or eighty wretched beings who in vain implored for admission. Numbers of them were in various stages of fever, which was terribly prevalent in the neighbourhood, and the fever-shed overcrowded. Two months before my visit, the doors of the workhouse were opened and the inmates expelled, entailing upon them the most dire misery.


Leitrim County Library has the following holdings: 

  • Union minute books (1843-1919, some gaps); 
  • Rough minute books (1854-55, 1899); 
  • Accounts (1843-94, major gaps); 
  • Abstracts of rates: (1896-98).

In Griffith's Valuation of 1857, the workhouse is mapped at 12a Gallow's Hill  [Townparks, Carrick-on-Shannon]. 


The workhouse building is still extant. It continued in its role as a refuge for the destitute until the 1930s then became a geriatric hospital aka St Patrick's Community Hospital.

In 1997, the Carrick-on-Shannon and District Historical Society commemorated the 150th anniversary of the depths of the famine, when soup kitchens were introduced to try and help relieve the starvation conditions. They renovated the adjacent famine graveyard and recreated a small part of the workhouse in one of the hospital attics which has survived virtually unchanged since the nineteenth century...


Carrick on Shannon Workhouse Attic Memorial

An evocative reminder of the famine era workhouses, the Workhouse Attic Memorial is part of the St. George's Heritage and Visitor Centre. Introductory displays recall the role of the workhouse during the famine era. Some 1896 famine victims were recorded as living in these small, whitewashed quarters.

A famine graveyard in the grounds is another legacy of this poignant chapter of Irish history.

The adjacent reading room provides an opportunity to look through reproduced copies of the Carrick Workhouse Board of Guardian's Minute Books (1843 - 1850) and to browse other evocative items of interest, including a selection of local emigration records

Access to the workhouse attic and reading room is by guided tour which can be arranged with the St. George’s Heritage and Visitor Centre staff.


~ Please post below to share any specific information or stories about this workhouse.  If you have an ancestor connected to this workhouse, please to link their ancestor chronicle to this building as well.  ~



ORIENTATION: Carrick-on-Shannon Town Ireland VIEW SOURCE
CENSUS 1901: Lisnabrack Ireland VIEW SOURCE
WORKHOUSE.ORG: Carrick-on-Shannon 1842 UK VIEW SOURCE
BUILDING: NIAH History & Photos Ireland VIEW SOURCE
VISIT: Carrick on Shannon Workhouse Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Famine Graveyard of Carrick on Shannon Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Local article on Carrick Workhouse Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Places in Carrick-on-Shannon PLU Ireland VIEW SOURCE

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Communities Associated with this Building