Workhouse in Claremorris in Co. Mayo

Between 1820 and 1880 Claremorris and its neighbourhood endured the ravages of famine on some occasions.

In 1851 the Claremorris Workhouse was opened as the last refuge for the local destitute families in the south-eastern area of the town just off Mount Street.

The cost of the building amounted to £6,500 and the value of the fitments to £1,435. It could accommodate up to 800 people. The first occupants were admitted in 1852.

The site of the burial ground of the original Famine Workhouse and the Fever Hospital Refuge, built before the workhouse, was located near the Link Road from Mount Street to the Railway Station.

Also adjacent to the site was a ‘Cillin’ or children’s graveyard. Here many unnamed infants who died in the community were buried usually at night-time.

The workhouse closed in October 1918. The British Army used the building as barracks from 1918 and 1922.

In 1933 Stephen O'Mara was Managing Director of O'Mara Ltd. Limerick founded the Claremorris Bacon Company in the old workhouse premises.

The bacon factory closed the door in 1989, and the building fell into ruin.

St. Colman’s Parish Pastoral Team and the Claremorris Historical Society with support from Mayo County Council erected a commemorative stone on the site.

Inscription on the memorial: "This stone commemorates the people who died in the Claremorris Work House (1851-1918) and in Mount Street Fever Refuge (pre-1851). Resting here also are many unnamed infants who died in this community. We pray that they rest in peace. "

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