Castlerea Workhouse Stone

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The stone dated 1841 comes from the original workhouse structure that was built around this time on a six-acre site south of Castlerea town. Constructed using the design laid down by Poor Law Commissioner architect George Wilkinson, it was one that was repeated to a great extent across the country as places to house the growing destitute Irish. Conditions at the workhouse were extremely poor. Disease, hunger, and death were rampant and it was well-known that those who entered the workhouse rarely survived the ordeal they encountered. It's unclear how many people died at the workhouse, but the number is believed to be high. During the famine years, the population of Roscommon was particularly badly impacted with a population loss of 31% making it the worst-hit county in the country. The stone was unearthed in recent years and erected at this site on Bully's Acre to commemorate those who lost their lives within the workhouse walls. Listen to the audio to learn more about what life was like inside the Castlerea Workhouse.