2017 Events

Friday, March 1oth: A Taste of Portumna

The Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna, in partnership with Galway County Council, will be hosting ‘A Taste of Portumna’ event on Friday, 10th March, from 12pm to 5pm. The idea behind the event is to facilitate local producers to exhibit and share their produce with a wide audience in their local community. The is no entrance charge.

Access to the event will be free and we have a large outdoor area prepared (weather permitting) for our local producers. Should the weather not be on our side, we also have a large indoor complex available. There is also a canteen on site which we will make available for exhibitors and the general public, and the feedback to date has been excellent. For more, see www.irishworkhousecentre.ie/a-taste-of-portumna


Part of our event will be a ‘Festival of Bees’ involving the Folklore of Bees in their bio-diversity, with a focus on education of their importance is our local food. We are visiting local schools as part of our efforts.


Saturday, March 11th: Eaten Bread: The archaeology and history of food production and preparation.A Famine

The Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna, in partnership with Galway Community Heritage Forum, will be hosting a free conference on the history of food in Ireland on Saturday, 11th March, from 10am. Speakers will include Margaret Hickey, Clodagh Doyle, Rosanne Meenan, John Tierney, and Mary Bulfin.

For more, see  http://irishworkhousecentre.ie/eaten.


Friday, June 9th to Sunday, June 11th

On June 9th-11th, the Irish Workhouse Centre will be hosting a ‘Fit for Fun Festival’. It promises to be a fantastic weekend with lots to interest all ages – from Lego and activity workshops and an exploration dome for children, to a charity cycle (with the Lions Club) and heritage events for adults…


Friday, June 9th: Late Night at the Workhouse. For those working all week, the centre will be giving free tours from 6pm-8pm on the opening Friday evening… discussing the ‘Workhouse at Night’, what evenings and night-time brought for inmates and staff, and comparing life ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ in the nineteenth century.


Saturday, June 10th: Conference, Exploration Dome and Sport!

Conference, in partnership with Waterways Ireland, on Portumna and its waterways. The River Shannon is closely bound up with Ireland’s social, cultural, military, economic and political history. This free conference, 10am to 1pm showcases the major role this inland waterways has played in history, culture and society.

Half & Full Marathon, 50k and 100k – Forest Marathon at Portumna Forest. For more: www.forestmarathon.wordpress.com/enter-online

The Exploration Dome uses state-of-the-art ‘Full dome’ 360 degree 3-D digital projection technology, stunning graphics and advanced computer simulations.  Astronomy shows and full dome films are suitable for all ages and are projected throughout the inner surface of the dome to fully envelop the audience. Shows every hour on the hours at a subsidised rate of €2.

History on the Run… Kid’s Exercise Course (and History Quiz) in the Workhouse. Fun (and free) outdoor activities will be will be held in the Workhouse complex on Saturday from 11am-1pm.


Sunday, June 11th:

Portumna ‘Active’ Heritage Morning: Get active and get to know your heritage, with our special guests for the morning, the Galway ALego4rchaeological and Historical Society. Tour the Workhouse, Portumna Bridge, and Portumna Priory.

As part of this year’s Portumna Fun & Fit Festival, the Lions Club are holding their Annual Fun Cycle. All proceeds go to local charities – prizes for funniest bike/cyclist, best individual/club fundraised. Donations accepted.

From 3pm-6pm, the Workhouse will be hosting three, hour-long Lego Sessions, with Brickmaster Ben Cunningham.  Places are limited, cost is €10. After a short-tour, Children will be presented with the challenge of building the Workhouse Centre itself.  


Saturday, July 8th: Conference06. Eyrecourt Castle 2

The Irish Workhouse Centre  in partnership with the South East Galway Archaeological & Historical Society (SEGAHS) present a conference on  ‘The Place of the Big House and Estate in Irish History’ at the Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna, Co Galway. Conference  from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm. The conference is free to attend, with donations to the Irish Workhouse Centre welcomed.



Saturday, August 19th to Sunday, August 27th: Heritage Week

At the Workhouse…

Sat 19th (12-4pm): Folklore, Fossils, and the Forge

Sun 20th (10:30am-2:30pm): Reaching Out: Autism Day

Mon 21st (10am to 4pm): Lá Gaeilge

Tue 22nd (11:30am-12:30pm and 1:30pm-2:30pm): Artefacts Day

Wed 23rd (12:30pm to 3:30pm): Sounds of the Workhouse

Thu 24th (1-6pm): Who do you think you are?

Fri 25th (12-5pm): Cures in Nature

Sat 26th (9:30am-5pm): Workhouse Heritage Day

Sun 27th (12-1pm and 2-3pm): Chase a fairy, find a bee…


The Workhouse ‘On Tour’…

Sat 19th (All Saints Heritage Centre, 12pm): Clonburmen in the British Army

Sat 19th (Crossroads Community Centre, 2pm): Congmen in Crown Forces

Sat 19th (Ruanes of Glentane, 7:30pm): The Inn of Glentane

Tues 22nd (Athenry Heritage Centre, 4:30pm): Athenry 200HW Logo

Wed 23rd (Ballinasloe Library, 2:30pm): Cricket in Co Galway

Thu 24th (Birr Library, 11:30am): The Head Family and their Legacy           .

Thu 24th (Scariff Library, 12pm): The Workhouses of the Region

Thu 24th (Loughrea Library, 2:30 – 6pm): Exhibition on Loughrea Workhouse

Fri 25th (Kilbarron Hall, 8pm): Kilbarron Terryglass Soldiers in HM Forces


Workhouse Publications for Heritage Week…                         

Sat 19th: Portumna Priory Inscriptions. Launch at Portumna Library at 12pm

Sat 19th: Clonburmen in the British Army. Launch at the Clonbur lecture

Sat 19th: Congmen in Crown Forces in C19. Launched at Cong at 3pm

Sat 19th: The Inn of Glentane. To be launched at Ruane’s Bar at 8pm

Tue 22nd: The most harmless…. Launch by Eoin O’Neill at the Workhouse at 8:30pm

Thu 24th: Workhouses of the Region. Launch at Loughrea & Scariff Libraries

Sat 26th: Folklore Booklet (gathered from National Schools), launch at noon

Sun 27th: Meelick Medieval Church by Dr Christy Cunniffe at 12pm at Meelick

Sun 27th: Lawrences of Lawrencetown by Aron Donnolly. Launched at Pardys at 7:30pm



Saturday, October 7th: Conference on Famine, Emigration, and the Workhouse

The Great Irish Famine was a watershed in the history of the country. Between 1845 and 1852 the population of Ireland reduced by close to a quarter and its effects forever changed the island’s demographic, political and cultural landscape.

Although the Poor Law system had been designed to cater for 80,000 people, multiples of that number would seek assistance with many pushed abroad in a five year period from 1845 which would see ‘a million dead, a million fled’!

The conference forms part of the Irish Workhouse Centre heritage programme and focuses on the themes of famine, emigration, and the workhouse system. Speakers include Dr Christine Kinealy and Dr Gerard Moran.


The Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna, Co. Galway, Ireland.

Tel: 00-353 (0) 90-9759200 | info@irishworkhousecentre.ie