Mountbellew (Galway)

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Mountbellew Workhouse remaining buildings and plan from Historic 25inch map with thanks to Martin Curley
Mountbellew Workhouse remaining buildings and plan from Historic 25inch map with thanks to Martin Curley

The following information was provided by Mr Steve Dolan, Manager of The Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna, Co. Galway

The photograph and plan were kindly provided by Mr Martin Curley. 

The Mountbellew Poor Law Union was officially declared in 1850. The Workhouse was opened in 1852 at a cost of £6,100. It was built to house a maximum capacity of 500 inmates, but census records show that the Workhouse never got to above half full with the highest recorded population being 263 in 1853. This is not an indication of affluence in Mountbellew, but is instead a result of the Workhouse not being opened until after the worst years of the famine had passed. The Mountbellew Workhouse was built to accomodate people from the areas of Annagh, Ballynakill, Caltra, Castleblakeney, Castleffrench, Clonbrock, Cloonkeen, Cooloo, Derryglassaun, Killeroran, Killian, Mountbellew, Mounthazel, and Taghboy. 

The front block and dining hall of Mountbellew Workhouse survive today as part of a secondary school named Coláiste an Chreagáin. 


For more information see here Ireland VIEW SOURCE

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  • My three times great-grandmother, Catherine Glynn was born about 1833, probably in eastern County Galway. She was a resident at the Mountbellew workhouse in the early 1850s. Catherine was also among a group of young women from the workhouse who emigrated here (Australia) on a ship called "Palestine" in 1852/53. We know very little about Catherine's family in Ireland – although I have recently discovered DNA matches with people descended from Glynns from the area around Mountbellew, especially Ahascragh.

    After arriving in Western Australia, Catherine worked at Avondale (near the town of York) as a domestic servant for the family of a retired Royal Navy captain. In 1855, she married Sam Blackmore, an English-born farm labourer, who had also been a sailor. They had children: Mary Jane Blackmore (later Bradbury), James, Thomas, Samuel and Catherine Elizabeth. (James and Samuel junior both died in infancy.) The family later took up a small farm at Yelyelling (a.k.a. Glencoe, near Woodanilling) and had a business hauling goods with a team of bullocks. Catherine and Sam both died in the early 1900s. They have more descendants than I can count, most of whom still live in Western Australia.

    Grant L.

    Friday 10th April 2020 02:51AM
  • Hello,

    Have you created a Chronicle for your Ancestor? If not then I would advise creating one and linking them to the Workhouse. This will bring your Ancestor to the attention of our wonderful volunteers who may be able to provide you with some pointers. It also sounds like a great story and I'm sure that our members would love to hear it.

    Best of luck with your search

    IrelandXO Team

    Chronicles Editor

    Friday 10th April 2020 09:08AM
  • Hello user_143810, I'm still getting my head around how this site works and how one uses it. Where would I create a chronicle?

    And is it a problem that I don't know which parishes or even counties my Irish ancestors were from? Or their parents' names? This is the case with Catherine Glynn – the earliest record we have of her is as a resident of the Mountbellew workhouse.

    Grant L.

    Friday 10th April 2020 12:49PM
  • Hi Grant, 

    If you are logged into the website then you can go to the homepage, click on Ancestors, then click on Add Person, and a form will come up for you to fill out. 

    If your ancestor was in Mountbellew Workhouse then you can link her to County Galway if you're not comfortable committing to Mountbellew until you get more information. 


    Valerie - IrelandXO Team

    Chronicles Editor

    Friday 10th April 2020 12:58PM
  • Grant, here is a link to a youtube video which explains the process of creating an Ancestor Chronicle. It may be of use to you.

    Valerie - IrelandXO Team

    Chronicles Editor

    Friday 10th April 2020 01:43PM
  • Hi Grant

    Just seen your message. Catherine Glynn was among the workhouse orphan girls that was sent to Australia from Mountbellew in 1852. I am apart of a voluntary genealogy group researching these girls for the last few years with success. I know the areas around Mountbellew, Caltra and Ahascragh. Always delighted to link in with descendants.



    Paula Kennedy

    Sunday 23rd August 2020 08:30AM
  • Hi,




    Deb_ Stirk

    Sunday 3rd October 2021 04:55AM
  • lHi,  My 3x Grt-Grandmother, Martha Egan, born c1834 in Castleblakeney, was also part of a group of 30 girls who received assisted passage from the Mountbellew Workouse to Western Australia, per the ship "Palestine" in 1852. At the age of 18yrs she left Plymoth, England on 29th November 1852 arrived at Fremantle, Western Australia , 28th April 1853. . In 1857, Martha married convict Charles Gilbert, in Champion Bay [Geraldton] 300 mls norrth of Perth. She & Charlie had 9 childre, Mary Eliza, {my 2xgrt-grandmother], Janet Ann, John, Martha, Charlotte Christine, Elizabeth, Charlie jnr, Frncis &Eliza.  Charlie received his "Ticket of Leave" in 1858, he was granted  19 acres of farmland at Greenough, called "Gilbert's Fields", i  Later tragedy struck, in 1867, when fire swept through the farmland of Greenough, destroying most of the houses & crops, causing much distress. There is a street named Gilbert Rd, in Greenough today, where their property existed.   Martha died, 28 Jan 1891, aged 57yrs & Charlie died, 9 Jul 1896, 68yrs. & they are both buried at the "Greenough Pioneer Cemetery" Western Australia.  Not much is known about Martha's family, only that her father was listed as John. On the shipping lists, there was also a Margaret Egan, who possibly sailed on the "Travancore" to Canada. Was this her 19yr old sister or a relative?   Martha & Charles have certainly left a long-lasting legacy of family history, to be proud of. 

    Debbie S







    Deb_ Stirk

    Sunday 3rd October 2021 05:26AM

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