The Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna

#6 of 51 in Historic Sites in County Galway
Architectural Building Historic Site
The Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna is the only centre in Ireland dedicated to telling the story of the Irish Workhouse. It is located in a real workhouse in Portumna, one of the best preserved workhouses in the country, with all seven buildings intact.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
213 reviews
  • Excellent and heart breaking history told. The guides are very knowledgeable and it is worth taking if you have an ounce of Irish blood in you.  more »
  • Brilliant - very informative and passionate tour guide. I really hope they continue to preserve and make safe this important part of our history. Will definitely go back and would highly recommend  more »
  • The visit of the former workhouses foreshadows what despair the family must have felt to be even in this "prison". Very interesting and detailed guidance. The premises have been carefully restored, the impression remains sustainable and pure.
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  • This place has good reviews but I was not sure when I went in first. Inside however we were treated to a terrific tour by two guides who clearly love what they do. They insisted we join them for coffee afterwards too. A warm telling of difficult story. Top marks.
  • History and atmosphere, a great experience of what life was for the unfortunate of the time. Striking and poignant images and articles direct from the period; a dish or spoon an inmate probably fed themselves with, are now displayed crumbling and rusted. ...the past is brought to life with great skill and earnestness by the local guides. Their love for the place and area is clearly and enthusiasticly evident. You will learn much in just an hour and spend the rest of the day pondering the people, the place, the times and the politics.
  • Perhaps the best single word to describe the experience of visiting the Irish Workhouse is, sobering. A lot of time has passed since those desperate days, but the tour brought them back to clear focus. A visit is a must for anyone with an eye toward understanding how we got to where we are today, and to get a grasp on the roots of today's attitudes and institutions.
  • A very moving experience. Like stepping back in time. Great tour guide. Loved the contents they keep finding that belonged to the workhouse. I would highly recommend it.
  • We want to thank the Workhouse staff for their ongoing efforts in terms of research and, critically, for the interpretation of the subject matter in such a comprehensive tour. Excellent stuff folks.

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