Balrothery Workhouse

Paper 311

Lecture – 2015

Author – Martin, Janet

Published in:Time & Tide 11

Report by: Oona Roycroft

The Balrothery Workhouse, one of a network throughout Ireland, was built in 1841. Founded to deal with the problems of poverty and destitution, they followed the British model, i.e. conditions must be worse than an employed labourer’s home.

Nevertheless, they were filled to capacity and beyond by the wretched of North County Dublin. This sobering paper vividly describes the life of these unfortunates. Poor food, insanitary condition, leaking, unheated buildings of poor quality, where everybody, including women and children had to work.

Things improved slowly after the ending of the potato famine, but the workhouse system was abandoned only in 1925, with some “ending their days as part of hospital complexes”.