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Corofin Union 1919-1920
Corofin Union Minute Books – BGC Board of Guardians Corofin

Ireland was divided into Poor Law Unions in 1838. Four Unions were created in Clare at Ennis, Ennistymon, Kilrush and Scariff with parts of south east Clare in Limerick Union and parts of north east Clare in Gort Union.

In 1850, four additional Unions were created at Corofin, Ballyvaughan, Kildysart and Tulla with part of south east Clare remaining in Limerick Union.

The new workhouse at Corofin was built by George Wilkinson. The building cost £5,700 and the fittings cost £915. Accommodation was provided for 500 people and the first admissions took place in 1852. The building contractor for Corofin were Crowe & Sons of Dublin.

Corofin Workhouse on right of image from O.S. Map

The Corofin Union covered 9 electoral divisions: Ballyeighter, Boston, Corofin, Glenroe, Killinaboy, Kiltoraght, Muckanagh, Rath and Ruan.

These extracts from the Board of Guardians Minutes for Corofin Union cover part of the War of Independence period from 1919-1921. The books have been digitised by Clare County Archives.

BGC/128 dates from November 1918 to September 1919 and BGC/129 dates from Sept 1919 to October 1920.

These extracts have been chosen to give a snapshot of the Corofin Workhouse at this time. An account by Dr Donogh Wheeler Macnamara of his time as Medical Officer of Corofin Workhouse can be found here and the Mac Namara Photographic Archive can be access on the website of Clare County Library here.

18 Jan 1919 Corofin Union Workhouse

This page from 18 January 1919 records that the population of Corofin Union in 1901 was listed as 4,483 with a Present Net Annual Value of £20,468. The workhouse could accommodate 543 inmates, 511 in the Workhouse and an additional 32 in the Fever Hospital. There were 45 inhabitants in the Workhouse on 18 January 1919 including 2 children (one aged 2-5 years and 1 under 2 years of age). 40 of these remained from the previous week, 12 new inmates had been admitted and 7 discharged. No births or deaths were recorded. 35 of the inmates were recorded as under medical treatment and 2 were recorded as ‘lunatics and idiots’. 24 cases were recorded of Destitute Persons relieved out of the Workhouse comprising of 43 persons.

Guardian Michael O’Brien chaired the meeting with other Guardians. Edward Hanberry, John Mackey and H.J. Hunt also present.

March 2019 Reference to Political Prisoners in Cork Prison


A resolution from the Naas Union regarding the reported brutal treatment of political prisoners in Cork prison, and calling on the Lord Mayor of Cork to have the charges investigated, was adopted.

August 2019 – Notes on the Workhouse


The Night Nurse applied for six weeks leave which was granted and Nurse Delia Hogan employed as her substitute at £2 2 0 a week with rations and 4 travelling expenses.

The tenders of Mr P.J.A. Hedderman was accepted for supplying three chests of tea at 2s 6d per lb, and tender of Patrick Mahony for supplying 4 creels bogdeal at 25/6 a creel.

William Millar was declared contractor for supplying mutton until 30th September next at 1s 10/2 d per lb.

On an application from the Tailor, Mr Patrick Griffey, the Guardians revised the scale of fees hitherto p0aid to him for making men’s and boys’ clothes as follows:- men’s coats increased from 5/ to 8/; vests from 2/6 to 3/6; trousers from 2/6 to 4/6; and boys’ coats from 4/ to 6/; vests from 1/6 to 2/; Trousers from 1/6 to 3/.

The District Nurse applied for a fee of £1 10 0 for attendance on a woman from the Ennistymon Union who gave birth to a child in the Workhouse here, and the amount was granted, and as a debt payable by the Ennistymon Union. Sanction requested.

The analyst’s report on Drugs is enclosed with Minutes.

The Acting Master to discharge the adult male and female from the Ennistymon Union at present in the Workhouse.

Note: The Guardians present on 16 August included Mr Daniel O’Brien (In the Chair), Messrs Edward Hanberry, John Mackey, John Arkins, Michael J. Cahill and Michael O’Brien. (BGC 128/427)

Sept 2019 State of the Workhouse


On 3 September 1919, there were 41 inmates with 40 remaining from previous week, 12 new admissions, 10 discharges and 1 death recorded. Minutes signed by: In The Chair: Mr Michael O’Brien and Other Guardians: Messrs Martin Crowe, Patrick Conroy, Thomas Waters, Daniel McGann, M.J. Houlihan, John Mackey, Patrick Kelly and Daniel O’Brien. M. O’Reilly, Clerk of the Union, signed following page noting date of next meeting.

Nov 2019 Death of Dr George Unthank Macnamara


The finance business having been transacted, the following resolution was adopted on the proposition of Mr Hunt, seconded by Mr O’Reilly:-

“ That we, the members of the Corofin Board of Guardians deeply regret the demise of our late revered Medical Officer Dr G.U. Macnamara. The news of his unexpected death came as a painful shock to all, casting a gloom over the district, where expressions of sorrow & sympathy became general. His long professional services as Medical Officer of the Corofin Dispensary District – extending over 43 years – brought him into contact with the people everywhere, and it is safe to say that there is not a single household therein that is not under a deep debt of gratitude to him. To the poor he was especially kind and sympathetic and we have had plenty proof of his active interest on their behalf on all occasions. The deceased gentleman was widely known as an antiquarian & student of historical Records, but in his own district he will best be remembered for his painstaking & skillful professional services. His familiar figure will now be missed, but the memory of ‘Dr. George’ is destined to remain fresh in the minds of this generation. To his sorrowing wife & family and relatives we tender our respectful sympathy and adjourn the meeting as an additional mark of respect.”

Jan 1920 Appointment of Dr Donough Wheeler Macnamara


Dr Mohilly, temporary Medical Officer, had to leave for home and ceased to act on the 7th inst., and Col. J.W. Macnamara M.D. acted pending the arrival of Dr Donough W. Macnamara, who took up duty on the 11th instant, at remuneration fixed. Viz. £7 7 a week.

March 1920 Murder of Lord Mayor of Cork


A resolution was adopted on the proposition of Mr McGann, seconded by Mr Hanberry, expressing horror and indignation of the recent murder of the Lord Mayor of Cork and copies to be forwarded to the Lady Mayoress and Lord Bishop of Cork.

May 1920 – Death of local school teacher Thomas Hunt


That we, the members of Corofin Board of Guardians regret having to place on record the death of Mr Thomas Hunt, father of our esteemed colleague, Mr H.J. Hunt and of Mr Wm Hunt. The deceased gentleman was for a great many years Principal Teacher of Corofin boys’ school, and during that time, and since his retirement, gained and enjoyed the respect and esteem of the people generally, but more especially the respect and esteem of his past pupils who have reason to remember his great interest in their welfare during their school days and after. His passing away has removed from our midst one of the most popular residents of Corofin, and we tender tohis family and friends and expression of our sincere sympathy and now adjourn the meeting as a further mark of respect’.

May 1920 Master of Workhouse demobilized from Crown Forces


Requesting to be informed whether the Master of the Workhouse is still serving with His Majesty’s Forces.
The letter having been referred to the Acting Master for reply, she states that the Master was recently demobilised.

May 1920 Workhouse fields let to local farmers and Military


Mr John Daly was allowed use of the field east of Workhouse from this date until 1st November next at £5 and Mr Wm Millar the field at south side of Workhouse for same period at £10.

The Military Officer offered £5 for use of the field east of Workhouse and an additional £1 under contingent circumstances, which was let to Mr Daly.

June 1920: Election of Officials


Messrs Timothy O’Flanagan, Denis O’Loughlin and James Kelly were elected Chairman, Vice Chairman and Deputy Vice Chairman of the Board of Guardians for the ensuing year.

It was decided that all the members of the Board of Guardians be members of the Visiting Committee and of the Finance Committee.

June 1920: Wardens


The following persons were appointed as Wardens for the Electoral Divisions of each Dispensary District: -

The Clerk to make a Return accordingly to the Local Government Board for Ireland of the names and addresses of the Guardians, Relieving Officers, and Wardens authorized to issue Medical Relief Tickets in each Dispensary District and to issue the proscribed Notification to the Wardens appointed and to the medical Officers of the respective Dispensary Districts, in pursuance of Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the General Regulations for Dispensary Districts – The Clerk was also directed to supply Check Books of Medical Relief Tickets (Forms E1, E2 and E3) in pursuance of Article 31 of the Dispensary Regulations, to each Guardian of the Union, and to each Relieving Officer and Warden therein: namely

Name of Dispensary District: Corrofin

Electoral Division Names and Addresses of Wardens appointed for each Electoral Division

Ballyeighter - Edward Hanberry, Aughrim
Boston - James Lee, Leitra and John Donohue, Rockvale
Corofin - John O’Halloran, Garrynacallagh
Glenroe - John Mackey, Mollogh
Kilnaboy - Patrick Curtis, Kilnaboy
Kilteraght - John Hegarty, Emlagh
Muckanagh - Michael Markham, Tullymacken
Rath - Ml O’Gorman, Gortnaglough
Ruan - Daniel McGann

July 1920 Railway Workers Strike

This entry from July 1920 alludes to the 1920 Munitions Strike when the Irish railway workers refused to transport British weapons and forces in May 1920. This act of civil resistance lasted for seven months until December 1920 and caused major disruption to the British military campaign.


That we congratulate the Irish Railwaymen on the magnificent fight they are making to save the Irish Race from extermination and we appeal to the Irish Nation to support these patriotic men, both morally and financially by every means it its power. Copy of this Resolution to be forwarded to An Dail Eireann and Secretary Irish Labour Party, Dublin’

July 1920 Presence of Military in Workhouse

The same book in July 1920 refers to the presence of military in Corofin Workhouse.


I beg to report that the military who have occupied the Workhouse for some time past are leaving today and are being replaced by a fresh body.

It was decided to lodge a claim for damage amounting to £20 15 6 with the Office in command of the men leaving.