The Irish Workhouse Centre
The Irish Workhouse Centre
5
Historic SitesArchitectural BuildingsHistory Museums
About
Welcome to The Irish Workhouse Centre. The workhouse has been described as “the most feared and hated institution ever established in Ireland.” The Irish Workhouse Centre tells the story of the workhouse poor, remembering those who are often lost and forgotten to history’. The workhouse was an institution which operated in Ireland for a period of some 80 years, from the early 1840s to the early 1920s. There were 163 workhouses in total. If people could not support themselves, they could come into the workhouse. Here they would do some work in return for food. People had to stay and live in the workhouse and so the system was known as indoor relief. Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday (inclusive). Tour Times: 10am; 12pm; 2pm; 4pm.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • StephT
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must see, make sure you dress warm - it’s freezing
    This is an excellent tour of a part of the Irish history that should not be forgotten. It is so authentic that you feel the chill and cold breeze in the rooms even on a warm sunny day. Dress well and warm before you visit.
    Thank you for calling in to see us!
    Written 18 May 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 13 April 2023
  • Michelle C
    Charlotte, North Carolina139 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Eye opening
    Such an informative visit and sent chills up my spine to know what happened in this area. Claire was our guide and she was thorough and told the stories well. Definitely worth a visit off the beaten path! Definitely learned more about Irish history.
    Thanks for calling to see us Michelle!
    Written 18 May 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 27 April 2023
  • Jim B
    Grapeview, Washington1,377 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    An Important Part of Irish History
    This was probably one of the best tours we have taken during our five week trip of Ireland. We learned so much about what the intent of these work centers was and then what the reality of them was really like. We had assumed they were in response to the potato famine, but they were established far ahead of that. It was interesting to visit here and then go to the Portuma Castle across town to see how the landowners lived in comparison.
    Thank you for your visit Jim!
    Written 18 May 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 10 May 2023
  • Rick T
    Wellington, New Zealand2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    An important piece of Irish History.
    As we were the only couple to turn up for the tour we had the sole attention of the incredibly passionate and knowledgeable guide (apologies, we didn’t catch her name!). Although the information received was pretty grim it gave us an incredible insight as to the overall living conditions in Ireland at the time and the social welfare system. Growing up on a farm in New Zealand we worked hard as a family but there was a self sufficiency factor that meant there was always good, healthy food on the table and warm beds! To our Irish ancestors and people that lived, toiled and survived before us, we have much to be thankful for. Bog Oak artworks “Dark Shadows” by Kieran Tuohy completed the tour and put faces and spaces to what we had seen and heard throughout the tour.
    Thank you for visiting!
    Written 18 May 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 14 May 2023
  • Mary G
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A learning experience
    I and some friends had a wonderful day visiting Portumna Workhouse today. It was so very interesting and informative. We were blessed to have a great tour guide in Aron. His depth of knowledge and enthusiasm came across in his friendly personality. Big thanks to Aron and all the staff there particularly Kevin who made us feel welcome. Your kindness is much appreciated.
    Thank you for coming to see us, we're absolutely delighted you enjoyed your visit!
    Written 27 May 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 25 May 2023
  • Karlee Twiner
    Provo, Utah1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Must See
    Definitely worth the trip! I've done lots of research about workhouses, and there's nothing like seeing it in person. This museum really allows you to see what these poor people had to go through. It's a wonderful tribute to the thousands of people who had nowhere else to turn.
    Thank you for coming to see us, we're delighted you enjoyed your visit!
    Written 6 June 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited August 2022
    Travelled solo
    Written 5 June 2023
  • Nicola D
    Ireland113 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very interesting tour
    Fantastic experience with out your guide Aaron! A passionate man for history and kept my family engaged for the whole tour. Very well set up museum and I would highly recommended a visit of you are in the area and interested in irish history.
    Thank you so much for your visit, we are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your time with us!
    Written 6 August 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 1 August 2023
  • brian h
    12 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent tour....very glad we booked the time to visit
    Very interesting tour. Cat, our guide, was informative, friendly and we were very happy with the tour. It was time well spent and I highly recommend this workhouse tour to anyone who comes to Ireland who is interested in Famine history or had ancestors who were impacted by the dire conditions of the mid 1800s
    Thank you for your visit!
    Written 6 August 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 2 August 2023
  • Kieron B
    Adare, Ireland91 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Hard story, and worth the visit.
    A group of 14 of us from Limerick visited the Irish Workhouse Centre ... and to a person agreed that it was so worth the visit. Cat was our guide and she was wonderful, so full of knowledge and passion. It's a hard story, but as part of our history, so necessary to be told and understood. Definitely, definitely worth visiting.
    Thanks for visiting! We're delighted to hear that you enjoyed your tour!
    Written 12 August 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 11 August 2023
  • Peter S
    Kingston, Canada11 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A fascinating journey into the darker history of Ireland
    We really enjoyed our tour of the Irish work house in Portumna. We had no idea that such institutions existed, and the tour gave us a much better appreciation for the challenges of the day. Our host was very articulate and able to answer very in-depth questions. The facility is very well-maintained, and the interpretive displays are very well done. We highly recommend this as a destination, when in Galway.
    Thank you for your visit Peter, we're delighted to hear that you enjoyed your time with us!
    Written 10 September 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 8 September 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles520 reviews
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ella g
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
Would highly recommend the fascinating, deeply informative tour of this evocative place. Our tour guide, Aaron, was really engaging and the tour was paced and structured so well. One of the most interesting and memorable historical tours we’ve experienced.
Written 3 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anonymous
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
The restored workhouse and collection of artifacts give a remarkably vivid sense of how these places were run and what it was like to be an inmate. The tour was really outstanding.
Written 2 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

easterntravellers
Norfolk, UK173 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Friends
This tour was one of the most profound and affecting that we have ever experienced. Being in a building steeped in so much history was powerful enough in itself, and the fact that the spaces were uncluttered with a lot of extra paraphanelia simply made teh experience more powerful - having said that, the one 'gimmick' of the talking holograms was very well done and only added to the tour. Our guide was ecxcellent. He spoke very factually and precisely about the history, context and life in the workhouse and, again, this added to the trip. His knowledge was encyclopeadic - we asked lots of questions, and when he (rarely!) did not know the answer, he said so which simply added more weight to his input. If you have the chance to visit, please do - although based in history, this place still has so much to teach us about how we treat the most vulnerable in our society today.
Written 24 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

errismayo
galway8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Family
I went on the tour with family members including my Mother and we were all very impressed especially with the tour guide Claire. She was a mine of information and had a wealth of knowledge that only the very interested can achieve . I understand that different guides do different tours including showing different exhibits , so I will be back . Thank you.
Written 16 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark S
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Family
Our guide drove home,with passion, how terrible these instituions were while describing the social and political reasons for why they came into existence.
The exhibits are not only informative but also emotionally powerful providing a poignant glimpse into the lives of those who faced unimaginable hardship during the workhouse era
Written 1 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for your visit, we're very pleased to hear you enjoyed your time with us!
Written 12 November 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

mary g
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Family
Claire was a knowledgeable and very articulate guide who really conveyed the harsh and inhumane conditions of the workhouse. We will certainly return.
Written 29 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you very much for your kind review, we are delighted that you enjoyed your visit!
Written 12 November 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Lori
10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
Had a very interesting tour today our tour guide Eileen had extensive knowledge and took time to answer all our questions. This is definitely worth a visit we would highly recommend it.
Written 14 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your visit! We're delighted you enjoyed it!
Written 24 September 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Peter S
Kingston, Canada11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
We really enjoyed our tour of the Irish work house in Portumna. We had no idea that such institutions existed, and the tour gave us a much better appreciation for the challenges of the day. Our host was very articulate and able to answer very in-depth questions. The facility is very well-maintained, and the interpretive displays are very well done.

We highly recommend this as a destination, when in Galway.
Written 8 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your visit Peter, we're delighted to hear that you enjoyed your time with us!
Written 10 September 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Seb G
5 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
Great museum that tells the story of a pretty awful institution in a bad period in Ireland. Our guide, Roisin, was enthusiastic and knowledgeable and told the story of the workhouse very well during the tour that lasted just over an hour
Written 13 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you very much for calling in to see us, we're delighted to hear you enjoyed your visit!
Written 14 August 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kieron B
Adare, Ireland91 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Friends
A group of 14 of us from Limerick visited the Irish Workhouse Centre ... and to a person agreed that it was so worth the visit. Cat was our guide and she was wonderful, so full of knowledge and passion. It's a hard story, but as part of our history, so necessary to be told and understood. Definitely, definitely worth visiting.
Written 11 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for visiting! We're delighted to hear that you enjoyed your tour!
Written 12 August 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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THE IRISH WORKHOUSE CENTRE: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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