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Workhouse Fire in 1900

The Workhouse on the Shelbourne Road was a place of refuge for Bridget Carroll an inmate of the blind ward. This ward was long with a fire stove in the centre, while at either end of the ward there were open fires on grates. At  seven o’clock on the night of Tuesday, 20th of March 1900, Bridget retired to bed but she was unsettled and arose again at half past nine, and began to wander to one end of the room.

At the time the attendant and some others were sitting around the stove in the centre of the dimly lit room. Suddenly they heard a noise and saw that someone had caught fire at the end of the room. They immediately went to assist the woman who however had been injured and subsequently died from shock. The jury at the inquest held the following day with the coroner M P Cleary presiding, it was decided that the open grates in the blind wards should be protected by wiring.

Unfortunately, as this recommendation was only applied to the blind ward as three days later in another ward of the workhouse an elderly woman caught fire, only to be extinguished by a Mr. P. McNamara of The Abbey, luckily the old woman survived.

workhouse women

Image of workhouse women from Leeds, but would be typical of all workhouses in the British Isles during this period.

Abandoned Ireland have an interesting article and photographs on Irish Workhouse

About The Author

Sharon Slater

Sharon Slater is the owner and operator of the Limerick's Life website. She has been researching and collecting information regarding Limerick history and genealogies since her early teens. She obtained a Masters degree in Local History at the University of Limerick.


  1. Sharon Slater

    Hello Mary,
    I am glad that you have enjoyed my site and I hope you find it useful in your search for your Fitzgeralds. I have an RSS feed if you would like to subscribe to that at the moment we do not have a newsletter but thanks to your suggestion we will look into it.
    The site is updated regularly so come back and visit.



  2. Mary Mizzi

    Hello Sharon,
    Have just found your site and have started reading all the interesting items here. Can you please send me your newsletter or whatever,when it is available please as I am very interested in reading about the ancient graveyards, archealogy and ancient history of Limerick.
    I am interested in Family History and although I havent found them, know that some of my Fitzgerald Ancestors have hailed from here.
    Again thanks for a very interesting site.

    Kind regards,
    Mary Mizzi from North Queensland Australia

About Limerick’s Life

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