Irish Work House Centre , Portumna

The Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna

A real story, in a real workhouse!

The Irish Workhouse Centre  is the only centre in Ireland dedicated to telling the story of the Irish Workhouse.  It is located in a real workhouse in Portumna, one of the best preserved workhouses in the country, with all seven main buildings intact.

The first workhouses opened in 1842, before the “famine”.  163 were built in total.  The workhouse was the last resort of the destitute poor from the 1840s to the 1920s.  Life in the workhouse was harsh.  Family members were split up into separate quarters.  Young and old were expected to work.  In return, the “inmates” received enough food to survive. As an institution, the workhouse was hated.  The stigma was such that for generations, few people would admit to having had relatives there.

At Portumna, visitors enter the workhouse via the waiting room, the actual room people came through when seeking admission to the workhouse.  A short film is then shown in what was the girls’ classroom.  After this, visitors are guided through the girls’ yard, the women’s dormitory block, including the matron’s quarters, the nursery, the women’s workroom and the laundry.  Visitors also have the opportunity to see on-going conservation and restoration work in progress.  The guided tour lasts about one hour.

The centre is open 7 days a week, from 9 6 p.m.from 1st May to 31st October 2013.  Last admission is at5 p.m. Admission fees are Adult €6, Seniors/Students €4 and Families €14.  Group discounts.   Guided tours in French and German for groups of 6+ are available, when booked in advance.

Parking and fully accessible toilet facilities. Access to ground floors only for people in wheelchairs.

For further information tel: 090-9759200

Please see our Short Film by clicking on the below link.

Irish workhouse centre film




St Brigids Rd,
Co. Galway
Phone: (0)90 9759200
Map Location

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