On Saturday, 25 June 2016, 12noon, Cllr Kieran McCarthy, in association with the Friends of St Finbarr’s Hospital, will give a public historical walking tour of the hospital grounds (meet at gate). The walk is free and takes place to support the summer bazaar of the Friends. Cllr McCarthy noted: “St Finbarr’s Hospital, the city’s former nineteenth century workhouse, serves as a vast repository of narratives, memories, symbolism, iconography and cultural debate, this year the site is 175 years old”. When the Irish Poor Relief Act was passed on 31 July 1838, the assistant Poor Law commissioner, William J Voules came to Cork in September 1838 to implement the new laws. Meetings were held in towns throughout the country. By 1845, 123 workhouses had been built, formed into a series of districts or Poor Law Unions, each Poor Law Union containing at least one workhouse. The cost of poor relief was met by the payment of rates by owners of land and property in that district.
In 1841 over eight acres, were leased to the Poor Law Guardians from Daniel B. Foley, Evergreen House, Cork. Mr. Foley retained an acre, on which was Evergreen House with its surrounding gardens, which fronted South Douglas Road (now a vacant concrete space). The subsequent workhouse that was built on the leased lands was opened in December 1841. It was an isolated place, built beyond the City’s toll house and toll gates. The Douglas Road workhouse was also one of the first of over 130 workhouses to be designed by the Poor Law Commissioners’ architect George Wilkinson.