The following information was provided by Mr Steve Dolan, Manager of The Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna, Co. Galway

The Roscrea Poor Law Union was officially declared in 1839. The Workhouse was opened in 1842 at a cost of £7,996. It was built to house a maximum capacity of 700 inmates, but census records show that the true number of inmates reached as high as 1,860 in 1849. The Roscrea Workhouse was built to accomodate people from the areas of Bourney, Burrisnafarney, Killea, Killevinogue, Rathnaveogue, and Roscrea in Co. Tipperary, and Aghancon, Cullenwale, Dunkerring, Ettagh, Kilcommon, Kilmurry, Roscomroe, and Shinrone in Co. Offaly, and Borris-in-Ossory, Doanmore, Eirke, Kile, and Rathdowney in Co. Laois. 

Built to accommodate 700, in the years following the Famine, 1845-47, extra sleeping accommodation was provided by erecting sleeping galleries and by the conversion of stables.  As the following figures show, the number of inmates rose dramatically from 1846 to 1851:

December, 1846 — No. of Inmates: 940

December, 1847 — No. of Inmates: 1,064

December, 1848 — No. of Inmates: 1,355

December, 1849 — No. of Inmates: 1,652

March, 1851 No. of inmates: 2,025

The 1851 figure includes the 641 sleeping in Parkmore - A Corn Mill rented to create extra accommodation.  In 1849 & 1850 girls from Roscrea Workhouse were sent to Australia - Melbourne and Sydney as part of the Earl Grey Scheme.  As many as 3,156 people died in the Roscrea workhouse between 1845 and 1852. 

The Roscrea Workhouse site is now occupied by a factory. This factory is St. Cronan's Services and offers sheltered employment to its workers. 

Some of the Roscrea Workhouse records have been made available onliine at

Roscrea Workhouse on Historic 25 inch map (1897-1913)

Roscrea Workhouse on Historic 25 inch map (1897-1913)
Layout of Workhouse Irish Famine


For more information see here Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Workhouse Records Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Home page of St. Cronan's Services. Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Details on the builders involved. Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Details of a local memorial. Ireland VIEW SOURCE

Type of Building:



  • Hello,

    Have you created a Chronicle for your Ancestor? If not then please do as it sounds like a great story and you can link her to the Workhouse.

    Best of luck with your research

    IrelandXO Team

    Chronicles Editor

    Friday 10th April 2020, 09:06AM
  • Oh wonderful, all Ancestors from the last 24 hours should now be uploaded. It really is such an interesting time in our history. 

    Best Wishes

    Valerie - IrelandXO Team

    Chronicles Editor

    Friday 10th April 2020, 11:51AM

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