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A fine cut stone group of buildings erected in 1852. It served the poor of the parishes of Templeport, Corlough, Kildallan, Drumreilly, Newtowngore, Ballinamore, Swanlinbar and part of Glanglevlin.

A board of guardians governed, some were nominated by the Grand Jury and the others by the voters of tax payers.

The Guardians levied a rate on the union (area) and used the proceeds to support the workhouse. Discipline was strict in the workhouse and the diet was limited.

Men were segregated from the women and children from their parents. From left to right in the front row of buildings there were the following sections – lock up, female probation ward, girls school, waiting room, boardroom, office, entrance gates, masters rooms, surgery store, boys school and male probationary ward.

In the central portion of the building with steps up to the entrance hallway – on the right of the hallway was the dairy with a window, wide and low through which food was passed into the kitchen.

On the left of the hallway are two doors, the first is on the porters room, the second a stairway.

A door at the end of the hallway, two steps up, leads directly into the kitchen. There are two boilers in the left hand corners of the kitchen and a fireplace in the centre of the left hand wall.

A door through the centre of the back wall led to the dining room. There are two entrance doors, left and right, on the dining room walls. The dining room and chapel are now one big room (since 1954). In the back there were two doors, right and left through which the inmates entered for Sunday mass, Men through the right door and women through the left door.

Immediately to the right hand side of the chapel in the second row of workhouse buildings is a passage with a staircase. It was here on the first and second floors that a vocational school was opened in 1933 when a Miss Daisy O Connor took charge of a Domestic Economy class, to which, were added manual instruction (woodwork) and general subjects in 1934.

In the first row of buildings (on right when facing) the boy’s schoolroom became a dance hall in the 1920s and was used for meetings, concerts, and Irish dancing classes during the following decades.

The Keepers Arms
The Keepers Arms

Shelia Mc kiernan is the proprietor of the Keepers Arms BnB & Pub, Bawnboy, Co Cavan.
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