Ancestry UK

Tulla, Co. Clare

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Tulla was one of the new Poor Law Unions created in Ireland between 1848 and 1850. The new union was formally declared on 22nd February 1850. It was created from the eastern part of the Ennis Union and the south-western part of the Scariff Union and occupied an area of 135 square miles. The population falling within the Tulla Union at the 1901 census was 9,834. In 1905, it comprised the following electoral divisions:

Co. Clare: Ballyblood, Ballynahinch, Caher, Clooney, Dangan, Glendree, Killanena, Killuran, Kilkishen, Kiltannon, Kyle, Loughea, Newgrove, Quin, Rathclooney, Rossroe, Toberbreeda, Tulla.

The Guardians met on alternate Tuesdays.

The new Tulla Union workhouse was erected on a four-acre site a mile to the east of Tulla. Designed by the Poor Law Commissioners' architect George Wilkinson, the building was intended to accommodate 500 inmates. Its construction cost £5,000 plus £1,085 for fittings etc. The site location and layout are shown on the 1921 map below.

Tulla workhouse site, early 1900s.

The layout was somewhat different to Wilkinson's earlier designs, and was a similar size and design to the workhouses at Castlecomer, Clonakilty, Urlingford and Mitchelstown which were built at around the same time. The front of the site at the south had a central entrance, flanked by a block at each side.

To the rear, the main buildings had a T-shaped layout. The wing to the south probably contained the dining-hall and kitchens. The two main accommodation wings, one for men and one for women, were three storeys high.

In 1907, the overcrowded condition of the District Lunatic Asylum at Ennis led the Clare County Council to propose the amalgamation of the Tulla and Scariff unions, with the Tulla workhouse then being converted into an auxillary asylum. The amalgamation of the unions duly took place although in 1919, plans for converting the Tulla workhouse were still "in abeyance".

The former workhouse buildings no longer exist and the site has reverted to agricultural use.

Tulla present site entrance from the south, 2002
© Peter Higginbotham.

Tulla former workhouse site from the south, 2002
© Peter Higginbotham.


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


  • None.

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