Ancestry UK

Oughterard, Co. Galway

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Oughterard Poor Law Union was one of the second wave of Irish unions created between 1848 and 1850. Oughterard Union formally came into existence on 8th October 1849. It was formed from the western part of the Galway Union and occupied an area of 271 square miles. The population falling within the Oughterard Union at the 1901 census had been 17,732. In 1905, it comprised the following electoral divisions:

Co. Galway: Camus, Cloonbur, Cong, Crumpaun, Cur, Gorumna, Kilcummin, Letterbrickaun, Letterfore, Lettermore, Oughterard, Ross, Turlough, Wormhole.

The Guardians met at the workhouse on Tuesdays.

The new Oughterard workhouse, for 600 inmates, occupied an eight acre site at the south-west of the town. The building cost £5,950 to construct, plus a further £1,055 for fixtures and fittings. Designed by the Poor Law Commissioners' architect George Wilkinson, the building followed a design similar to that used for other workhouses erected during this period, for example at Claremorris or Tubbercurry. At the west, facing the road, a central entrance gate was flanked by two long blocks, usually allocated to children's accommodation and schoolrooms. To the rear, a T-shaped main building contained kitchens, dining-room and chapel at the centre, with accommodation blocks for adult male and females to each side. At the rear was a separate hospital block.

The former workhouse site was redeveloped in 1999-2000 as a housing estate.

Oughterard Union workhouse site from the north-west, 2000. © Peter Higginbotham.

In 2000, one small structure remained at the rear of the site, possibly part of the infirmary block.

Oughterard infirmary block(?), 2000.
© Peter Higginbotham.

A piece of ornamental masonry, possibly from the former workhouse building, lay among the builders' debris.

Oughterard, 2000.
© Peter Higginbotham.


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