The Dungarvan Poor Law Union was officially declared in 1839. The Workhouse was opened in 1844 at a cost of £. It was built to house a maximum capacity of 600 inmates. The Dungarvan Workhouse was built to accomodate people from the areas of Aglish, Ardmore, Ballylaneen, Clashmore, Colligan, Dungarvan, East Modeligo, Fews, Grange, Kilgobnet, Kilrossenty, Kinsalebeg, Seskinane, Stradbally, and Whitechurch.
Dungarvan was an area that suffered worse poverty than others during the years of the Great Famine. This was due to the fact that Dungarvan was a noted potato growing area and therefore a large portion of the economy depended greatly upon the potato. The Dungarvan Workhouse quickly became over-crowded during these years. By 1849, the Dungarvan Workhouse was so over-crowded that there were 3,000 inmates recorded as being in residence. Cholera became a series problem at the Dungarvan Workhouse as a result of this over-crowding.
The Dungarvan Workhouse site is now occupied by St Joseph's Hospital with a number of the original buildings still in use.
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