Tralee (Kerry)

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

The Tralee Poor Law Union was officially declared in 1840. The Workhouse was opened in 1844 at a cost of £10,200. It was built to house a maximum capacity of 1,000 inmates. The Tralee Workhouse was built to accomodate people from the areas of Ballinacourty, Ballincushane, Ballinvoher, Ballyduffe, Ballymacelligott, Brosna, Castlegregory, Castlemain, Castle Island, Dingle, Dunorlin, Dunquin, Kilgarrylander, Kilgobbin, Kilquane, Minard, Tralee, and Ventry. 

The Tralee Workhouse was repurposed as the County Hospital. It was closed in the 1980s. 

The Tralee Workhouse site is now occupied by the County Council offices with a number of the original buildings still standing. 


For more information see here Ireland VIEW SOURCE

Type of Building:



  • My great grandfather Michael Fitzgerald born Ballybeggan, Tralee 1849 worked at the Tralee Workhouse as a supervisor circa. 1870 to 1874 when he emigrated to New Zealand. He lived in one of the small colouful houses on Quill Street, Rathass. I understand these houses date from the 1840s.

    Where can I obtain staff records of the Workhouse ?

    Michael was one of eight children of John Fitzgerald and Ellen (Helena) Moriarty of Ballynavenooragh, Kilquane, DIngle Peninsula. Five of the eight children emigrated to New Zealand and Australia. The three who remained in Ireland were; Edmund born 1846, Patrick born 1853 and Ellen born 1866. Does anyone have any information on these three ?    


    Wednesday 30th December 2020 04:59AM
  • Have you added them to the Ancestor Chronicles? We can link them to the building. In this video tutorial I explain the process.

    For access to any Workhouse records your best bet is to get in touch with the Kerry County Council Archivist. This page might be helpful

    Chronicles Editor

    Monday 4th January 2021 12:23PM
  • Did this workhouse serve Ballyheigue, Glenderry, and/or Daugh?


    Friday 8th January 2021 08:26PM
  • Hi Jeanne, 

    This link will take you to a page that lists all of the places in the Tralee Poor Law Union. These are the areas which would have been served by Tralee Workhouse…

    I hope this helps

    Chronicles Editor

    Monday 11th January 2021 10:43AM
  • I am intersted to know more about the "colourful houses on Quill Street, Rathass" that Carts mentions in her/his post above (December 2020). Are these the small cottages built to house the (lucky) Catholic poor, by the church, rent free? My great grandfather lived there with his siblings, parents and grandparents in the 1850's. They had a four roomed house and small garden. The houses were on one side of the old cemetery and the Workhouse was on 5he other, on the north side of Quill Street. 
    thanks, Shane


    Tuesday 6th July 2021 09:35PM
  • Hi Shane, I am the Carts mentioned above. When I visited Tralee from New Zealand a few years ago I enquired from a local what the history of the houses was and he informed me that he thought they were bought by the local council for the Workhouse and let to their supervisors of whom my great grandfather was one in the early 1870s. There are some photos of the interior and the "garden" of one of the houses in it's present condition on the following link. 

    Bets rgds, Dennis



    Wednesday 7th July 2021 12:25AM

    Hi Dennis, that's great, thanks for getting back to me about this. I found the street view and topo map really enlighten8ng - the garden areas seem really quite large. I had I imagined the houses and sections would be tightly packed together, and perhaps that was the case, with some having been demolished over time. So interesting that your great grandfather also lived in one of the houses. My research into the extended Foley family at the time has them living there from the 1840's. They were farmers. My great grandfather Michael left Ireland and arrived here in NZ in the mid 1870's, at the port of Lyttleton (we think). 
    I have recently contact the Kerry Library archives people about the history of the houses and look forward to a reply. Many thanks again Dennis! Best regards, Shane




    Wednesday 7th July 2021 01:20AM
  • Hey Shane, you couldn’t make this up. We both had great grandfathers named Michael ,both who lived in the Quill St cottages and both emigrated to NZ. Good Kerry men. 

    Cheers, Dennis




    Wednesday 7th July 2021 04:41AM
  • Hi again Dennis, I've just been reading an article online, from a 2019 volume of Kerry Historical Society Journal and came across the name James Fitzgerald who was a teacher, or at least applied for the job of teacher at the Poor Union Workhouse in Tralee circa 1844. The article is fascinating giving very detailed description of the controversy surrounding the site chosen for the building (site owned by Maurice Quill) and also of people who were accepted into the workhouse - and those who worked there. It's written by author Bryan MacMahon who wrote the book on the Great Famine in Tralee, which you may know of also. Bryan is from Ballyheigue.

    check out 

     Cheers Shane



    Sunday 11th July 2021 07:00AM
  • Hi Shane, are you able to provide a link that will take me directly to that article as can’t find it on the Kerry Historical site. Rgds Dennis





    Sunday 11th July 2021 07:49PM

    Hope this works Dennis,

    Cheers, S



    Monday 12th July 2021 02:26AM
  • Hi Shane, yep that's fine thanks. A lot of interesting reading there

    Cheers, Dennis


    Monday 12th July 2021 04:56AM

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