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Portumna Heritage Trail

27. Irish Workhouse Centre

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Portumna Workhouse

The Irish Workhouse Experience - A real story in a real workhouse.

The average length of a visit is about one hour.

The tour begins in the only fancy room in the house, the Boardroom, where the board of guardians, responsible for running the workhouse, held their meetings. We then proceed to the waiting hall, the actual room that people would have stood in, when seeking to gain admission to the workhouse.

From here, we go to the girls’ schoolroom. Before watching the short film, visitors are given a presentation which places the workhouse in its historical and social context. The film, made with the help of the Galway Film Centre, looks at aspects of life in the workhouse, in particular, the practice of splitting up families, on entry.

Workhouse Ruins

Visitors are then guided through the girls’ yard, the women’s dormitory block, the matron’s quarters and the laundry building. The Irish Workhouse Centre is a conservation and redevelopment work in progress. Visitors interested in this aspect can see work first hand and find out more about restoring and re-using old stone buildings.

Questions and comments from visitors are welcomed at all times. Information leaflets are available in French, German & Polish. There is a quiz for children, suitable for age 8+. School Tours & Tours for Third Level Colleges.

These are tailored to the needs of each individual group and will be arranged at time of booking. Must be booked in advance.