Posted by: irishhungercomm | September 27, 2012

Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna

Irish Workhouse Centre,
September 2012

Welcome to the first Irish Workhouse Centre Newsletter.

The aim of the project is to tell the story of the Irish Workhouse and to find new, sustainable uses for the complex. In so doing, it is the hope to bring significant social, cultural and economic benefits to Portumna & South East Galway.

Project wins Overall County Heritage Award 2011

The Centre was open for a short six week period in 2011. We learnt a lot from this which helped us set our goals for 2012.

Goal No. 1 – to have the Centre open and
operating successfully from 1st April to
30th September 2012.

Key to achieving this goal was getting more staff, paid and voluntary. The call was put out for volunteer guides and a sound response received from the locality and beyond.

The Centre now has 20 trained guides, all working one day a month, for the six month period. We put our case to Pobal to get additional paid staff under the Community Services Programme. Two positions were allocated, one full time and one part-time.

Our goal for this first year of operation was to have 3,000 to 3,500. To date, 2,892 people have visited. So on target here. What’s most important is that people are finding their visit interesting. Just seven reviews so far on Tripadvisor but they give a flavour of how people feel about the experience, as do the comments in the visitors’ book:

“Excellent historical content. Authentic

“Incredible buildings, sad stories in there,
important landmark, well done. Keep it up.”

“… absolutely riveting and an excellent guide”
Goal No. 2 for 2012 was to continue with the
conservation work on site.

Achieved so far this year:
 General maintenance
 Infirmary/Hospital Building re-roofed
 More work on windows in Block C
 Cleaning out & whitewashing
 Securing buildings that will not come into
use in the immediate future
Hospital Building Re-roofed.

Thanks to all the crew, the RSS and TÚS Programmes, Galway Rural Development Ltd. and the Heritage Council.

Goal No. 3 for 2012 to secure funding to re-develop Block A (former Girls’ Section)

An application has been made to Galway Rural Development Ltd. under the Natural Rural Development Programme. It will be a few months before the outcome is known. If the application is successful, there may be to €200,000 available. This will mean much improved visitor and community facilities next year. So fingers crossed!


The Centre closes on 30th Sept. this year.
Open 7 days a week, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with
last admissions at 5 p.m.

Friends Programme

Friends contribute €2 per week towards to Project.
A plaque with each Friends name will be placed
beside each window as they are restored.
Friends are acknowledged in the Friends Book and
on the website
Also free admission for up to 10 people
If you would like to become a friend, contact
Beatrice at the IRD Centre, Abbey St. Portumna –
090-9741867 or
See more at:

The Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna,
Co. Galway, Ireland
tel: 090-9759200


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