The Enniscorthy Poor Law Union was officially declared in 1840. The Workhouse was opened in 1842 at a cost of £6,682. It was built to house a maximum capacity of 600 inmates. The Enniscorthy Workhouse was built to accomodate people from the areas of Ballyhogue, Baltyhuskard, Castle Ellis, Edermine, Enniscorthy, Ferns, Kilcormack, Killan, Killegney, Kilrush, Meelnagh, Monart, and Templeshanboe in Co. Wexford, and Newtownbarry in Co. Carlow.
During the worst years of the Great Famine, extensions were made to accomdate a further 200 inmates.
In 1922, after the formation of the Irish Free State, the Enniscorthy Workhouse was repurposed as the county home. Today it is known as St John's Hospital, where many of the original buildings still survive.
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