Ancestry UK

Killala, Co. Mayo

[Records] [Bibliography] [Links]

Killala was one of the new Poor Law Unions created in Ireland between 1848 and 1850. Killala Poor Law Union formally came into existence on 29 Sept 1849 and was created from the northern part of the Ballina Union. The new union occupied an area of 164 square miles. The population falling within the Killala Union at the 1901 census was 8,254. In 1905, it comprised the following electoral divisions:

Co. Mayo: Ballycastle, Beldergmore, East Kilfian, South Kilfian, West Kilfian, Killala, North Lachan, South Lachan.

The Guardians met on alternate Saturdays.

The new Killala Union workhouse was erected on a six-acre site at the south-east of Killala. Designed by the Poor Law Commissioners' architect George Wilkinson, the building could accommodate 500 inmates. Its construction cost £4,500 plus £885 for fittings etc.

The workhouse site location and layout are shown on the 1890s OS map below.

Killala workhouse site, 1890s.

The design was broadly similar in size and layout to workhouses such as those at Claremorris and Newport which were built at around the same time. However, it appears to have lacked the two long blocks that usually flanked the entrance. The main building had a T-shaped layout. The central wing running towards the east was probably a single-storey block containing the dining-hall and kitchens. To each side were accommodation wings, one for men and one for women. A small fever hospital was located at the south of the site.

In 1917, the Killala union was dissolved and amalgamated with the neighbouring Ballina union.

The former workhouse site is now occupied by a housing development.

Killala former workhouse site from the east, 2003.
© Peter Higginbotham.

A derelict stucture stands at the south-west of the site, at about the location of the workhouse fever hospital.

Killala former workhouse site (fever hospital?) from the north-west, 2003.
© Peter Higginbotham.


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 Workhouses of Ireland by John O'Connor (Anvil Books, 1995)


  • None.

[Top of Page] [The Workhouse in Ireland] [Unions List] [Unions Map] [Home Page]

Ancestry UK

* * * Amazon US For US readers Amazon US * * *