Mitchelstown, Co. Cork
Mitchelstown was one of the new Poor Law Unions created in Ireland between 1848 and 1850. Mitchelstown Union formally came into existence on 28th March 1850. It was created from former parts of the Clogheen and Fermoy Unions and occupied an area of 136 square miles. The population falling within the Mitchelstown Union at the 1901 census had been 14,157. In 1905, it comprised the following electoral divisions:
Ballyarthur, Derryvillane, Farahy, Kilcullane, Kildorrery, Kilphelan, Marshalstown, Mitchelstown, Templemolaga.
Co. Limerick: Anglesborough, Ballylanders, Cullane, Duntryleague, Gallbally, Riversdale.
The Guardians met at the workhouse on alternate Thursdays.
An existing workhouse at Galbally was deemed 'insufficient for the purposes' of the new union. Consequently, a new workhouse was erected on a eight-acre site at the north side of the Clogheen road, a mile to the east of Mitchelstown. While it was under construction, the union continued to house its paupers at the Clogheen Union workhouse.
Designed by the Poor Law Commissioners' architect George Wilkinson, the new building was planned to accommodate up to 600 inmates. Its construction cost £6,100 plus £1,150 for fittings etc. The site location and layout are shown on the 1897 map below.
The layout followed the one adopted by most of Ireland's second generation workhouses. The entrance at the south was flanked by two two-storey blocks in which children were accommodated, with boys at the right and girls at the left. Staff accommodation and the Guardians' board room were located immediately next to the entrance. To the rear, the main building had a T-shaped layout with the central portion containing a single-storey dining-hall/chapel and kitchens. To each side were the male and female accommodation wings which were three storeys high. An infirmary block stood at the north of the workhouse and a small fever hospital was erected at the east of the site.
In 1917, the Mitchelstown union was dissolved and its constituent parts amalgamated with the neighbouring Fermoy union. The workhouse buildings have been demolished and all that remains is the perimeter wall and entrance gateway at the south.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- The location of any surviving records for Mitchelstown Union is unknown. None are held at Cork County Archives.
- Crossman, V (2006) Politics, Pauperism and Power in Late Nineteenth-century Ireland
- Gray, P (2009) The Making of the Irish Poor Law, 1815-43
- O'Connor, J (1995) The Workhouses of Ireland
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