Castletowndelvin Union Workhouse

by Peter Higginbotham

Castletowndelvin (now known as Delvin) was one of the new Poor Law Unions created in Ireland between 1848 and 1850.

Castletowndelvin Union formally came into existence on 9th August 1850, and was the last union ever created in Ireland. It was formed from parts of the existing Mullingar, Oldcastle and Kells Unions and occupied an area of 116 square miles. In 1905, it comprised the following electoral divisions:

  • Ballinlough
  • Ballyhealy
  • Ballynaskeagh
  • Bracklyn
  • Clonarney
  • Collinstown
  • Copperally
  • Delvin
  • Faughalstown
  • Fore East
  • Fore West
  • Hilltown
  • Kilcumny
  • Killua
  • Killulagh
  • Kilpatrick
  • Kinturk
  • Riverdale
  • Rosemead 

The Guardians met each week on Fridays at noon.

The new Castletowndelvin Union workhouse was erected in 1850-52 on a 12-acre site half a mile to the south-east of Castletowndelvin. Designed by the Poor Law Commissioners' architect George Wilkinson, the building was based on one of his standard designs to accommodate 400 inmates. Its construction cost £5,200 plus £885 for fittings etc.

The workhouse had two long blocks at the front linked by a central entrance archway. To the rear was a T-shaped block with the central chapel running towards the entrance. 

The workhouse buildings were demolished in the 1920s and the site is now occupied by housing.

Famine Commemorations 2010