Located on the road between Borris in Ossory and Rathdowney, Donaghmore Famine Workhouse Museum is clearly signposted and easy to find. Allow about an hour to look around the museum and exhibits.
The Donaghmore Workhouse opened in 1853 and visitors today can see the stark conditions that inmates faced. Particularly moving are the sleeping platforms in the girls’ and boys’ accommodation which are still in much the same condition as when the Workhouse was in operation.
Workhouses were established under the Poor Relief (Ireland) Act in the early part of the nineteenth century. Their story and the story of life in the Workhouse is set out at the Donaghmore Museum using illustrated text panels on the walls.
Also located at the Donaghmore Famine Workhouse site is an Agricultural Museum with an interesting collection of old farm machinery and equipment including butter churns and laundry mangles and there is also a small collection of material related to the Donaghmore Co-Operative Society.
At the time of my visit (August 2012) parking at the Donaghmore Famine Workhouse Museum was free and there was an admission charge for entry to the exhibition and workhouse buildings. Just two of the buildings on the site had been opened and restoration work was ongoing.