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The Irish Workhouse

Irish workhouses, also known as poorhouses, were first introduced in 1703. They were constructed to house those who were ‘poverty stricken’ and some who were sent there for punishment. These institutions accepted the aged and infirm, orphans, foundlings and abandoned children, but were not good places to be, with cruelty and torture part of the daily routine.

Once they entered the workhouse, families were segregated in separate male and female blocks, with children in another. The high walls that surrounded these institutions were to keep people out, not in.

Inmates were free to leave when they liked, but most of those who entered weren’t in the position to do so. Many children lived their entire lives there, not knowing any other existence. Need for the workhouses rose dramatically with the Great Famine of 1845–9. During this time people would arrive at the workhouses close to death, and many died at the gates or not long after.

𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐈𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐦𝐲 𝐧𝐞𝐰 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 '𝘈𝘣𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘐𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘥' 𝘣𝘺 𝘙𝘦𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘤𝘢 𝘉𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘯𝘭𝘪𝘦 𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐮𝐬𝐮𝐚𝐥 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐞𝐬 👩‍💻


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