The following information was provided by Mr Steve Dolan, Manager of The Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna, Co. Galway
The Portumna Poor Law Union was officially declared in 1850. The Workhouse was opened in 1852 at a cost of £7,900. It was built to house a maximum capacity of 600 inmates, but the population of the Workhouse never reached even half of this as the highest recorded number of inmates at Portumna Workhouse was 293 in 1853. This is not an indication of affluence in Portumna, but a result of the Workhouse being opened after the worst years of the famine. Prior to the opening of Portumna Workhouse the pauper of the Portumna Union would have been sent to either Loughrea or Ballinsaloe. The Portumna Workhouse was built to accomodate people from the areas of Abbeyville, Ballyglass, Coose, Derrew, Drummin, Eyrecourt, Killimor, Kilmalinoge, Kilquain, Meelick, Moate, Portumna, Pallas, Tiernascragh, and Tynagh.
Since 2011, Portumna Workhouse has been open to visitors as The Irish Workhouse Centre. Fully guided tours of the building are available, as well as exhibitions and as of Spring 2019, a newly opened museum.
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