The Castletownbere Poor Law Union was officially declared in 1848. The Workhouse was opened in 1852 at a cost of £7,540. It was built to house a maximum capacity of 600 inmates. The Castletownbere Workhouse was built to accomodate people from the areas of Adrigole, Bear, Coulagh, Curryglass, Kilcatherine, Killaconenagh, and Kilnamanagh.
In 1896 the Sisiters of Mercy took control of the Castletownbere Workhouse which now housed a convent. The building was closed in the 1920 and the stone has since been reused for construction.
The Castletownbere Workhouse site is now occupied by housing.
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