Friday, 10 April, 2020
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A total of 163 Workhouses were in operation in Ireland over a period of 80 years, from before the famine to the early 1920s. They feature prominently in the stories of poverty and destitution associated with the Great Hunger and they were considered the very last option available to people who had nothing left to lose. Every one of these Workhouses now features on our XO Chronicles. We are asking our members to tell us about their ancestors who had a connection with these buildings.

Did your ancestor have a connection to an Irish Workhouse?

Many of the people who went into an Irish Workhouse, never came out again, dying from malnutrition and ill health, or remaining in the infirmary when the Workhouse evolved into one of the many county homes, district hospitals, and asylums that were part of the legacy of these institutions.

However, many overcame the experience of the workhouse to raise families, emigrate to other countries and take back control of their lives.

We owe a great debt to these people, both those who survived and those who didn't, and although it may be impossible to know the true impact of how many lives were lost, we can remember those who experienced the Workhouse and bring their story back to their Irish place of origin, as well as give you, their descendants, an opportunity to connect back with the local community.

Now you can reconnect your Irish ancestor to the Workhouse they shared a history with; be they:

  • a staff member, chaplain, or medical officer,

  • an inmate, orphan, or fever hospital patient, 

  • born, or gave birth in a Workhouse lying-in hospital

  • a decision-maker (e.g. Board of Guardians or District Council member)

  • a supplier or contractor (e.g. farmers supplying turf, potatoes etc.)

Follow these steps to link your ancestor with an Irish Workhouse:

Step 1: Find a Workhouse

Click below to see the workhouses of Ireland. Each one has a separate entry and can be found under the parish and County it was located in (note: some served districts across county boundaries).

Step 2: Add your ancestor

Create a Chronicle for your ancestor and share what you know about their association with a Workhouse. If you have already created an Ancestor Chronicle, skip to the next step!

Step 3: Link your ancestor with a workhouse

Once you are ancestor is created, link them to the local Workhouse. This video will show you how. 

Get free advice from our Message Board

Need help figuring out which workhouse your ancestors MAY have been connected to? Or guidance as to where to find workhouse records? Post your query to our MESSAGE BOARD here.

Add to our Civil Parish Timelines

Have you discovered some old news, records or photos of your local Workhouse? We'd love it if you shared them to our TIMELINE here.

Top Ten Facts about Irish Workhouses

Find out more about Irish Workhouses, what purposed they served, why were people sent there and what remains of them today. READ MORE here.