Rules and Regulations

The use of tobacco was forbidden; an attempt by the Dunshaughlin board to rescind this law in 1843 was promptly overruled by the central Poor Law Commission. Further evidence of the inmates' austere lifestyle is indicated in June of 1841. The Board made an order for the paupers to "rise and be set to work at six o' clock in the morning and go to bed at eight o' clock in the evening".

What happened then if these rules or numerous others were broken? This aspect of the House is perhaps the most interesting because it shows the human side of life in the place.

The ultimate sanction the Guardians had was expulsion of a pauper from the house. There are many instances of this: paupers were expelled for stealing potatoes and a quantity of stirabout. In a lighter vein in March of 1842 a female pauper complained that another "had beat her black and blue and blackened her eye. . .several female paupers were called in and examined. . .they could not say which was the aggressor". The outcome was that both of them were dismissed from the house.

Another mode of discipline was the arrest of paupers for offences connected with the Workhouse. For example, in 1842, a female pauper leaving the House was charged with the removal of a petticoat, the property of the Guardians, on her person; she was ordered to be sent before a Magistrate. A quite pathetic case is noted in June 1846 when a warrant was ordered to be put out for Bridget Kelly "having got leave to go bury her child but has not returned."

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