One of the aims of the North Clare Historical Society is to attempt together what could hardly be achieved by the efforts of a lone individual. In choosing to investigate the history of the Ennistymon Workhouse, we were aware that its activities encompassed the entire North Clare region during extremely volatile times. We were not aware of the huge amount of basic source material which had lain dormant in the wall of books comprising the 147 handwritten, fading volumes of the minutes of the meetings of the Boards of Guardians of Ennistymon Union from 1839 to 1924.
It quickly became obvious that we could not hope to tackle these minute books on our own, and that we could not realistically hope to retrieve and make available all the valuable information contained in them.
We were fortunate, in a way, that the Union, which was established in 1839, was reorganised and reduced in 1850 by the creation of Ballyvaughan and Corofin Unions. We decided therefore to concentrate on the intervening period, which also covered the Famine.
We were even more fortunate, in that FÁS agreed to allow us to sponsor a Community Response Project to reproduce and index the relevant material, and to mount an exhibition featuring scale models of the workhouse and illustrative material on the Union.
The Society is delighted with the results of this project and is happy to congratulate the Project Supervisor and all who worked with her on a magnificent achievement.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge the tremendous assistance of FÁS and Clare County Council, without whose help none of this would have been possible.
William Callinan, Chairman,
North Clare Historical Society.
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