Claremorris, Co. Mayo
Claremorris Poor Law Union was one of the second wave of Irish unions created between 1848 and 1850. The new union was formally declared on 22nd February 1850. It was formed from the northern part of the Ballinrobe Union and occupied an area of 173 square miles. In 1905, the union comprised the following electoral divisions:
Co. Mayo: Ballindine, Ballyhaunis, Ballyhowly, Bekan, Caraun, Claremorris, Cloghermore, Course, Crossboyne, Culnacleha, Garrymore, Kilcolman, Kilvine, Knock North, Knock South, Loughanboy, Mayo, Murneen, Tagheen.
The Guardians met at noon on alternate Wednesdays.
The new Claremorris workhouse, built in 1852, occupied an 8-acre site to the south-east of the town. It was designed to hold 800 inmates and its construction cost £6,500 plus £1,435 for fixtures and fittings etc. The site layout is shown on the 1884 OS map:
The burial ground for the workhouse was just off Mount Street to the north-east of the town centre (shown at the far top left corner of the map). A fever hospital is supposed to have stood on Mount Street prior to the erection of the workhouse. Anyone dying in the workhouse, whose remains were not claimed by a relative, would be buried in an unmarked grave in the burial ground. The pauper's graveyard was also used for the burial of unbaptized infants, which usually took place during hours of darkness. This practice apparently continued long after the closure of the workhouse.
The workhouse closed its doors in 1918 and the buildings were used by the British army as a barracks between 1918 and 1922. In 1930, the Minister for Local Government and Public Health granted a lease on the site to Messrs O'Mara and Co. of Limerick, and in 1933 the Claremorris Bacon Company began operating from the premises. Bacon processing continued up until April 1989 since when the buildings have become derelict.
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.
- National Archives of Ireland, Bishop Street, Dublin 8. Holds Board of Guardians' minute books and other papers.
- Local History Department, Castlebar Central Library, Castlebar, Co Mayo.
- Higginbotham, Peter The Workhouse Encyclopedia (2014, The History Press)
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