Located just outside Portumna in Co. Galway, The Irish Workhouse Centre is an important stop for visitors interested in the story of their Irish ancestors, architecture, the welfare state and care of the poor and sick. During your visit you’ll see the inside of a real workhouse, virtually unchanged from the 1850s. The Irish Workhouse Centre is a conservation and redevelopment work in progress. Visitors interested in this aspect can see work firsthand and find out more about restoring and re-using old stone buildings. We hope that when you leave, you’ll remember the stories of the workhouse poor.
Our Museum was founded to enhance that story, and it exhibits some of the artefacts that were part of everyday life here. Contact us if you would like to know more or follow us on our social channels. We look forward to welcoming you.
There is a lot to explore in the Portumna area and wider region from Portumna Castle and Gardens to the Forest Walk, and much more.
The name “Port Omna” means the “port of the oak”. The town, with a population of about 2,000, is situated on the northern tip of Lough Derg on Ireland’s longest river, the Shannon. It was one of about 50 towns founded by the Normans who came to Ireland in 1169 and is one of the few points where the Shannon can be crossed. It is known that a ferry crossing the river had been in operation as early as 1333. The earliest evidence of settlement in the area dates from the Neolithic Age. A skeleton from this period was found in Stoneyisland Bog in 1931.
The fabric and social history of Portumna as a town derives from its late medieval castle and its economic growth during the eighteenth-century. A great number of its street buildings are eighteenth century in origin. The town is noted for Portumna Castle. The Forest Park, located adjacent to the Castle, covers some 1,500 acres. Agriculture and tourism are important to the area. The town offers good shopping opportunities and has a range of restaurants and coffee shops.
Portumna and East Galway is sure to have something for everyone, so why not make a day of it?
You can learn more about activities and places to stay here.