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See & Do

Portumna Heritage Trail

Check out the fascinating trail that brings you around Portumna. Find out more about the heritage of the historical town, taking in Portumna Castle and Gardens, the Irish Workhouse Centre and lots more.

Visit our Heritage Trail page for more information

Irish Workhouse Centre

St. Brigid’s Road, Portumna, Co. Galway, Ireland

+353 (0)90 9759200

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.

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.

Portumna Castle and Gardens

Portumna, Co. Galway, H53 YK27

+353 (0)90 974 1658 Facebook - Portumna Castle

Portumna Castle and Demesne occupy a magnificent location on the shores of Lough Derg on the River Shannon. Although gutted by fire in 1826, the Castle is still an imposing example of Irish architecture of the early 17th Century. Built before 1618 by Richard de Burgo, 4th Earl of Clanricarde, the castle became the main seat of the de Burgo family for over 200 years.

Architecturally, the building marks the transition from the medieval Tower House to the Renaissance style manor house with complimentary influences from both periods. Following the fire and the ravages of time, the castle degenerated into a roofless shell. However, since 1968, the Office of Public Works re-roofed the building and based on extensive archaeological and historical research, other major conservation and partial restoration works continue to be carried out by a team of skilled craftsmen.

The imposing façade of the castle faces north and is approached by a long avenue and formal gardens. The dramatic approach has three formal enclosures which contain geometric and regular plantings, an old shrub rose garden and a walled kitchen garden, all combining to re-create a sense of the original 17th century setting. The ground floor of the castle is open to the public and houses an exhibition on the history and restoration of the building and the de Burgo family. The virtual reality DVD presentation adds to the exhibition, bringing the story to life.

Portumna Castle is surrounded by the towns' local attractions – Lough Derg, the River Shannon and Portumna Forest Park. Activities include golfing, hiking, go-karting, various heritage stes and more, which makes Portumna and its surrounds a really worthwhile area to visit.

Location: Portumna town – adjacent to lake, the River Shannon and Portumna Forest Park.

Guided Tours: Maximum No: 30

Duration: 45 minutes

Leaflet/Guide book: English, German

Seasonal Events: Please check in advance using contact details listed above.

Photography / Video allowed: Yes, but permission required for commercial purposes.

Additional Information: Limited access for visitors with disabilities to gardens and Gate House.

Woodford Heritage Centre

East Galway Family History Society Co. Ltd., Woodford, Loughrea, Co Galway.

+353 (0)90 9749309

The Society has an experienced team of researchers who offer free consultations, advice and undertake free searches of the centre’s in-house bespoke databases. Based on the searches undertaken and corresponding results, researchers can provide copies of individual records or compile in-depth family history reports to suit the client’s needs at extremely competitive rates.

Payment can be made by cheque (in your own currency) or by credit card. Please note records and reports are provided in good faith and for private research only and are not to be relied on for any professional purpose (i.e. testamentary).

Additionally any use of the information provided outside of the immediate family depends entirely on the permission of the holders of the copyright in the original records. Please provide your name, email and address where indicated, complete the Ancestor’s Details section giving as much information as possible and click on the Send button when finished.