Ancestry UK

Millstreet, Co. Cork

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Millstreet was one of the new Poor Law Unions created in Ireland between 1848 and 1850. Millstreet Poor Law Union formally came into existence on 28th March 1850. It was created from former parts of the Kanturk and Macroom unions and occupied an area of 117 square miles. The population falling within the Millstreet Union at the 1901 census was 10,515. In 1905, it comprised the following electoral divisions:

Co. Cork: Caherbanagh, Coomlogane, Crinaloo, Cullen, Derragh, Donnalseen, Drishane, Keale, Kilcorney, Knocknagree, Rathcool, Skagh.

The Guardians met each week on Thursday at 11.30am.

The new Millstreet Union workhouse was erected in 1852-3 on a six-acre site half a mile to the west of Millstreet. Designed by the Poor Law Commissioners' architect George Wilkinson, the building accommodated 600 inmates. Its construction cost £5,950 plus £1,215 for fittings etc. The site location and layout are shown on the 1905 OS map below.

Millstreet workhouse site, 1905.

The layout was somewhat different to Wilkinson's earlier designs, and was a similar size and design to the workhouses at Urlingford and Mitchelstown which were built at around the same time. The front of the site at the north would probably have had an entrance archway, flanked by two two-storey blocks which contained school rooms and accommodation for boys and girls.

To the rear, the main buildings had a T-shaped layout. The central wing running north-south probably contained the dining-hall and kitchens. To each side were accommodation wings for men and one for women. A fever hospital and small mortuary lay to the south. A separate infirmary and chapel stood at the south-east of the site. A surviving single-storey structure may be part of this building.

Millstreet part of infirmary(?) building from the north-east, 2002
© Peter Higginbotham.

On 3 June 1921, the workhouse, which had until recently been occupied by the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary, was destroyed by fire. An armed party of Republicans took possession of the premises at about 10.30pm, and transferred all the occupants to the infirmary block. The other buildings were then doused with petrol and set alight.

The former workhouse site is now the home of the Millstreet Community Hospital.

Millstreet Community Hospital, 2002
© Peter Higginbotham.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.


  • The Workhouses of Ireland by John O'Connor (Anvil Books, 1995)


  • None.

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