The high cost of insuring the Workhouse was undoubtedly due to the fact that there was a great multitude living within a confined area.

The capacity of the house varied greatly over the first ten years as extensions were built and new premises acquired during the Famine.

As stated the poorhouse was originally built to accommodate 400 paupers. This seems to have been adequate until late 1846 when concern was first expressed by the Poor Law Commissioners about overcrowding.

Shortly afterwards, a letter from the Poor Law Commissioners suggested to the Board that there was need for "an additional workhouse or an extension to the present one".

Thus in March 1847 the stables of Sir William Dillon of Lismullen were rented as extra accommodation for paupers, bringing capacity to 497.

To combat the disease of the Famine years the board next proposed to build a fever hospital on a site of two acres of land adjoining the workhouse owned by the Earl of Fingall. This accommodated an extra 60 inmates and by the end of 1847 what were termed sleeping galleries and sheds were built to cater for an additional 100 people.

By the end of the decade even more space had been made available and the Minute books for these years divide the space accordingly: Workhouse 400; Temporary buildings, 40; Permanent Fever hospital, 200; Fever sheds, 166. This gives a total of 806, over twice the number of inmates originally envisaged more than ten years before.

There are no figures available for the number of inmates between 1841 and 1846. After that weekly records began to be kept. The paupers were divided into various categories for the purpose of keeping these records. The number of males and females over 15 years, the number of boys and girls under 15 and children under 2 were recorded. Accounts were also kept of births and deaths and the number of sick paupers in any one week.


Dunshaughlin Poor Law Union - 27.02.1847 - Rent Stables for Accomodation -

Dunshaughlin Poor Law Union - 21.04.1849 - Inmate Numbers

This return shows that the workhouse increased its capacity from the original 400 places to 806 places. 406 additional places were created by accommodating 40 in temporary buildings, 200 in the permanent fever hospital and 166 in fever sheds. In this week of 21st April 1849 there were 641 inmates in the house.

Dunshaughlin Poor Law Union - 21.04.1849 - Inmate Numbers -

Dunshaughlin Poor Law Union - 12.12.1846 - Overcrowding i -

Dunshaughlin Poor Law Union - 12.12.1846 - Overcrowding ii - Copyright managed by the Library Council

Dunshaughlin Poor Law Union - 12.12.1846 - Overcrowding iii -

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