19 Jun 2017

McCarthy: Old Workhouse Tour, Saturday 23 June

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    On Saturday, 23 June the Friends of St Finbarr’s Hospital will be holding their annual Garden Fete Party from 1.30pm to 4.30 pm. As part of a whole series of events planned, Cllr Kieran McCarthy invites the general public to take part in a historical walking tour of St. Finbarre’s Hospital at 12noon (meet at gate). The walk is free and all are welcome. The tour focusses on the former Douglas Road workhouse, which was also one of the first of over 130 workhouses to be designed by the Poor Law Commissioners’ architect George Wilkinson.

   Cllr McCarthy notes: “The tour attempts to paint a picture of the workhouse, its function and insightful stories into life at that time – all of which have conditioned the feel and sense of place of this corner of Douglas Road and the wider city. 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”.

   Cllr McCarthy continues: “In 1841 eight acres, 1 rood and 23 perches 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. 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”.

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