Roscrea (Tipperary)

Share This:

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

The Roscrea Poor Law Union was officially declared in 1839. The Workhouse was opened in 1842 at a cost of £7,996. It was built to house a maximum capacity of 700 inmates, but census records show that the true number of inmates reached as high as 1,860 in 1849. The Roscrea Workhouse was built to accomodate people from the areas of Bourney, Burrisnafarney, Killea, Killevinogue, Rathnaveogue, and Roscrea in Co. Tipperary, and Aghancon, Cullenwale, Dunkerring, Ettagh, Kilcommon, Kilmurry, Roscomroe, and Shinrone in Co. Offaly, and Borris-in-Ossory, Doanmore, Eirke, Kile, and Rathdowney in Co. Laois. 

Built to accommodate 700, in the years following the Famine, 1845-47, extra sleeping accommodation was provided by erecting sleeping galleries and by the conversion of stables.  As the following figures show, the number of inmates rose dramatically from 1846 to 1851:

December, 1846 — No. of Inmates: 940

December, 1847 — No. of Inmates: 1,064

December, 1848 — No. of Inmates: 1,355

December, 1849 — No. of Inmates: 1,652

March, 1851 No. of inmates: 2,025

The 1851 figure includes the 641 sleeping in Parkmore - A Corn Mill rented to create extra accommodation.  In 1849 & 1850 girls from Roscrea Workhouse were sent to Australia - Melbourne and Sydney as part of the Earl Grey Scheme.  As many as 3,156 people died in the Roscrea workhouse between 1845 and 1852. 

The Roscrea Workhouse site is now occupied by a factory. This factory is St. Cronan's Services and offers sheltered employment to its workers. 

Some of the Roscrea Workhouse records have been made available onliine at

Roscrea Workhouse on Historic 25 inch map (1897-1913)

Roscrea Workhouse on Historic 25 inch map (1897-1913)
Layout of Workhouse Irish Famine


For more information see here Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Workhouse Records Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Home page of St. Cronan's Services. Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Details on the builders involved. Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Details of a local memorial. Ireland VIEW SOURCE

Type of Building:



  • Hello,

    Have you created a Chronicle for your Ancestor? If not then please do as it sounds like a great story and you can link her to the Workhouse.

    Best of luck with your research

    IrelandXO Team

    Chronicles Editor

    Friday 10th April 2020 09:06AM
  • Oh wonderful, all Ancestors from the last 24 hours should now be uploaded. It really is such an interesting time in our history. 

    Best Wishes

    Valerie - IrelandXO Team

    Chronicles Editor

    Friday 10th April 2020 11:51AM
  • James Moton born Roscrea Workhouse November 27th 1892 to Ellen (Brown) Moton and Thomas Moton.

    Kate Moten died in the Roscrea Workhouse on August 20 1908 at 67 from Chronic Heart Disease 

    Thought there would be more out of the hundreds ( possibly thousands by now) of Letsome Motens decendents who have lived in the Roscrea area since the early 1700s. A few lived in Dublin but most from Tipperary County. After 15 years I have 99% of them up to the mid 1900s or what your laws allow me to have. And no you are not related to the Morton family in any way whatsoever. You are unique as you are descendents of English aristocrats very wealthy land owners and Knights. and allowed to use the Letsome Moton or Moten however you like. Maybe not now but you still could in the 1900s.

    Aussie John

    Saturday 29th April 2023 04:16AM
  • The establishment of workhouses was a part of the Poor Law system implemented in Ireland during the 19th century, which aimed to provide relief for the impoverished population. The workhouse system, however, was often criticized for its harsh conditions and institutional approach to poverty relief.

    Tuesday 8th August 2023 06:44AM
  • Thank you for sharing this fascinating and sobering glimpse into the history of the Roscrea Workhouse. The statistics you've provided paint a stark picture of the incredible pressure the facility faced during and after the Irish Famine, with the number of inmates more than tripling its intended capacity.


    Friday 22nd December 2023 07:54AM

Some communities associated with this building