On next Saturday, 23 June, 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: “For a number of years now I have ran the walking tour of the workhouse story at St Finbarr’s Hospital. Of the twenty or more city and suburban walking tour sites I have developed the tour of the workhouse site has been popular. The tour though is eye-opening to the conditions that people endured in the nineteenth century but a very important one to tell. The dark local histories are as important to grapple with as the positive local histories. Cork city is blessed to have so much archival and newspaper material to really tell the story of the Cork workhouse. Out of this tour I have developed a walking tour as well around the old Our Lady’s Hospital, which I will run for National Heritage Week in August this year”.
Cllr McCarthy highlighted: “A present day blocked up archway on Douglas Road was the old entrance to the laneway that ran down from Douglas Road through market gardens to the workhouse complex. Between 1838 and 1845, 123 workhouses were built, which were part of a series of districts known as Poor Law Unions. The cost of poor relief was met by the payment of rates by owners of land and property in that district. In 1841 eight acres, one 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 (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 the workhouses to be designed by the Poor Law Commissioners’ architect George Wilkinson”.