I have not visited Tulla for about 15 years from Australia. I had gone on an unsuccessful search for my ancestors who were two young sisters aged 17 and 19 who left Tulla around 1850. On my visit, I inquired about workhouses but was left with the impression that people would rather that those horrible times be left alone. I found the workhouse mentioned in your article by reading in the Tulla library. I am not sure that it is correct to say that "nothing now remains of the site". There is a substantial brick wall and two iron gates barring access but through the holes in the gates, one could see a forlorn tree in the back of the land. I appreciate that this site triggers unhappy, if not angry, memories for many but should it not be recognised as a form of memorial to those who died and indeed, for those who left Ireland as a result of the "great Hunger". My relatives never returned and died here in Australia. If, as I suspect, many died at this site of disease brought on by hunger; they did not have the good fortune that my ancestors had to leave for the new world. I would also presume this land has many secrets. Sadly, I cannot contribute to the stories you seek as my relatives of several generations never wrote down anything and indeed, I am told, never spoke of this place or indeed of Tulla. It has been my painstaking search that found a few details to help my generation and those after me to understand that Australia, the "Lucky Country", has its roots in the Irish Diaspora.
The Tulla Poor Law Union was officially declared in 1850. The Workhouse was opened in 1852 at a cost of £6,085. It was built to house a maximum capacity of 500 inmates. The Tulla Workhouse was built to accomodate people from the areas of Ballyblood, Ballynahinch, Caher, Clooney, Dangan, Glendree, Killanena, Killuran, Kilkishen, Kiltannon, Kyle, Loughea, Newgrove, Quin, Rathcloney, Rossroe, Toberbreeda, and Tulla.
The Tulla Workhouse was completely demolished and nothing remains now of the site.
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Type of Building:
croninpjSunday 3rd October 2021, 06:53AM
Hi croninpj: Many thanks for your comments. I think that the point about nothing remaining on the site is accurate as the building was torn down and the stone was used for roads in and around the parish in the 1960s/70s. You are correct about the lone tree which gives an eerie quality to the site, and believe it or not, the tree still stands. I was one of the members of the committee who created the Heritage Week event "Famine Walk in Tulla" several years ago. This walk was so well attended, that Clare WAlks ran the same event the following month for their walking festival. I created the content based upon my own research.
You do not give the names of your ancestors, but I would be interested in hearing more about them. Please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best,
Tulla ClareWednesday 6th October 2021, 08:49PM
Hello Jane, thank you for your enthusiasm and interest.
My interest is in two families.
- Cornelius Looney married Catherine Grady (or O’Grady) at St Mary’s Feakle in 1825.
They moved to set up house (I think) in Tulla but where, I do not know.
I am reasonably sure that Catherine’s father was John Grady and their farm was at Annagh.
It is the first daughter Susanna (or Susan) Looney who is my primary interest. There were other children.
- Thomas Dwyer I think was a butcher in Tulla and he married and had a son John Dwyer about 1830.
In 1853, Susanna and her sister Catherine (aged 19 and 17 respectively) left Ireland and sailed to Australia arriving in Melbourne in January 1854.
In September 1854, Susanna Looney married John Dwyer in Melbourne. When he arrived in Australia is still unclear.
There begins the dynasty!
Susanna’s parents Cornelius and Catherine came to Australia with the rest of their children in 1857 and are now buried here in Melbourne.
I have done a lot of research but the details above are the founding stones. I am very interested to ascertain where they lived in Tulla, if they went to school and where and any details about Butcher Thomas Dwyer. I also have this sense that the Looneys and the Dwyers knew each other in Ireland.
croninpjThursday 7th October 2021, 09:50AM