Friday, November 14, 2008

Portumna workhouse County Galway

These buildings are part of a famine workhouse scheme that were set up after the famine to feed and house the starving population. There was a high mortality in the workhouses due to the conditions and to rampant disease. Portumna workhouse was built in 1852 and had an 'Poor law Union' area covering 121 square miles and was designed to house 600 people.
There were numerous famines in Irish History there were 2 "Great Famines" one in the 1740's that is not as reported on where 10% of the population died, and one a hundred years later where around 13% of the population died and 1.5 million people immigrated. studied
The latter is more reported because it was avoidable, it was caused by poor policies of the British Government and a deliberate slow reply and has been described as a Demicide, as opposed to Genocide where the extermination was planned.
sorry but I hadn't time to get better pics

10 comments:

Findabair said...

Darnit! Now you have me googling Portumna and looking at maps of County Galway and Conamara - I was going to clean my house and do laundry this morning, not spend heaps of time dreaming I was back in Ireland! All your fault ;P

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Thanks for the pics and the history info; interesting stuff! The workhouse sure looks like a dreary and gloomy place - but then I guess it's a rather gloomy piece of history.

Paz said...

Portumna is about as far east as you can go in Galway from Connemara, I live more towards the east side too.
I was amazed at the condition that this is in with no windows etc. pity that its not reused as visitor centre etc.
The history of the second great famine plays a huge part in Irish history/rebellion. That more than the reason that they ruled us is the reason that there was a hatred for the Brits in Ireland.
It was their policies that made Irish depend on the potato for its yields and not our for the humble spud.

Leisha Camden said...

This was so interesting, and so sad too. It's not used as a visitors' centre - I agree that it should be - but is it open to the public at all? If not, do you know why - lack of funding or more on principle that the authorities don't want this part of history on display?

Leisha Camden said...

Oh, and findabair - I don't feel sorry for you, because you knew what was going to happen if you went here ... ;-)

Paz said...

Irish people have no problem talking about the second great famine, most dont even realise there was one a hundred years before. It gave people the kick in the ass required to fight for freedom from England.
Out of curiosity what would happen findabair???

Findabair said...

I suspect Leisha means to say that I know I'll find interesting pieces of information about Ireland to distract me from cleaning my house when I come to your site :) She is, of course, quite right!

Paz said...

Just afraid that this was another veiled threat from Ms Camden, like in the mafia "you know whats going to happen(Wink)". Then some poor Norwegian family wake up to find a rolled up newspaper on the from door with a Fish inside. :D

Findabair said...

Hahaha, good point - Leisha remains full of surprises, so you never know ;D

Anonymous said...

just came across this by chance and wanted to let you know that thanks to local community efforts the workhouse is being restored and opened its doors to visitors this summer -- there are great plans for it. See the website: http://irishworkhousecentre.ie/

Paz said...

Might be passing that way before the weekend, will try and get a few shots and get it up with the website here and on the facebook page. Great to hear the building is getting a new lease of life when others are let crumble.