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The of The Big Wind on the night of January 6/7, 1839, deprived thousands of people in the Galway area of their homes. Their situation in the depths of winter was more than local charities could cope with. On May 8, the Galway Union was proclaimed to include the city and surrounding townlands to a radius of roughly 10 miles plus the Aran Islands, all of which would be served by a single workhouse in Galway. The first meeting of the Galway Board of Guardians was held in the Courthouse on July 3 of that year.
Most of today information came from Dr Jim Murray wonderful book Galway, a Medico Social History. If you would like to know more about the poor law system that sparked the major change in the social organisation of poverty in Ireland, we can recommend Helen Burke book entitled The People and the Poor Law, published by Arlen House.
The Mercy Sisters took over nursing in the hospital section in 1865, and took charge of the main part of the workhouse in 1884. It closed in 1921 when the remaining 68 residents were transferred to the new County Home in Loughrea. The workhouse section was then taken Converse Warehouse Sale Melbourne over by the British army, which handed it over to the Irish Army in January 1922. The county council completely refurbished and renovated the building over the next two years and converted it into the Central Hospital. The new Regional Hospital was built behind the Central from 1949 to 1956, and the Central was demolished in 1957.
Our photograph was taken c1890 at the corner of Newcastle Road and Cos an Aifrinn. In the foreground are a group of UCG students preparing for Rag Week. There were no traffic problems at this junction then. Notice the elegant gaslight at the corner, and how narrow Newcastle Road was.
Newcastle Road was the City Dispensary which in 1923 was converted into a maternity hospital. After 1942 it became the eye, ear, nose, and throat department of the Central Hospital.
The workhouse opened on March 3, 1842. It included an infirmary intended for sick paupers but which, in practice, became the hospital for the city poor. The first person admitted was an old and infirm man who sadly died two weeks later. The building was originally designed to hold 800 residents. By mid 1846, the number had reached 460, and the following January Converse Shoes Buy Online Uk
it was 1,143. On census night, 1851, there were 2,099 in the main workhouse plus 1,919 in the auxiliary workhouses in Galway, equal to 6.5 per cent of the population of the Galway Union. In July of that year, the numbers were even higher. In 1843, the daily cost of maintaining a resident was 2d. In 1847, the number of deaths every week averaged 25 to 30.
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The building in the centre with the tall chimneys was the cut stone entrance lodge to the workhouse. It contained a boardroom, clerks offices, porter room, waiting areas, and probationary wards for paupers, males on one side, females on the other. Between this building and the main block were two separate yards, one for boys and one for girls. The roof and large chimney you can see just over the wall to the right of picture was the main pauper section of the workhouse, which was a large H shaped building of three storeys. The old and infirm were accommodated on the ground floor, with dormitories for active adults in the upper floors. To the rear of each wing were kitchen, wash house, and privies. The small parallel wing of two storeys to the rear contained the infirmary, lying in ward, Converse Women 2017
and wards for idiots and lunatics. There were recreation yards and the eight acres of ground were surrounded by high stone walls.
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