Funding Appeal to save the 6-acre Carrickmacross Workhouse Site and
its Mass Famine Graves, Shercock Road, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan
Farney Community Development Group CLG., situated in Ireland's Ancient East, is a not for profit community organisation is launching a funding appeal to the Community at home and also the Irish Diaspora overseas to save the Carrickmacross Workhouse 6-acre Site and its Mass Famine Graves, bringing it into Community Ownership, in order to protect it from further deterioration.
The 6-acre Workhouse Site, which holds the Famine Graves of our ancestors and kinfolk, is a listed protected heritage area, the remaining semi-derelict building, comprising of 26,000 sq ft. is also a listed Protected Structure. Despite this listed protection status, the site and remaining building has been allowed to deteriorate into dereliction over the last 30 years.
Carrickmacross Workhouse embodies so much of the history, heritage, cultural fabric, and psyche of the people of South Monaghan. The majority of Irish families from South Monaghan living today had ancestral relatives seeking relief or shelter within the Workhouse wall, throughout that horrendous period of destitution during The Great Hunger. Many hundreds of our ancestors died as a result of malnutrition and related diseases and are buried in Mass Graves at the rear of the Workhouse site, and many hundreds more were forced to emigrate from it.
Carrickmacross Workhouse Site History
The 6-acre site was purchased in 1839 by the Poor Law Commissioners for the erection of a workhouse for the Poor Law Union of Carrickmacross for a sum of £622.
On 21st January 1919, the newly formed Irish Government stated:
'The Irish Republic fully realises the necessity of abolishing the present odious, degrading and foreign Poor Law System, substituting therefore a sympathetic native scheme for the care of the Nation's aged and infirm, who shall not be regarded as a burden, but rather entitled to the Nation's gratitude and consideration.'
After the formation of the Irish Free State, the Workhouses were transferred to the care of the new Central Health Board, who leased them for various purposes, and State Acts of 1930 and 1962 passed all Workhouses to Local Health Boards.
Carrickmacross Workhouse housed the first Vocational Technical School in the early 1930s and was also a base for a Farmer's Co-op - Fane Valley Co-operative, in 1952.
Fane Valley later merged with the Lough Egish Co-operative, Agricultural and Dairies Society.
In December 1988, the Central Health Board sold the 6-acre Workhouse site to Lough Egish Co-operative, for £1,200 punts.
The modern day Lakeland Group was formed in 1990 through the merger of the then Killeshandra and Lough Egish Co-operatives, established in 1896 and 1902 respectively.
On 9th July 1998, Lakeland Dairies Co-operative Society Ltd. granted Farney Community Development Group CLG. a 35-year lease on the derelict front Workhouse building comprising 24,000 sq ft. for £2,500 punt per annum, for the purpose of restoring and refurbishing the building for 'the provision of community services, day courses and training workshops for the community.
In 2006, Lakeland Dairies offered 16 sites for sale nationwide, including the 6-acre Carrickmacross Workhouse site, with its two remaining original buildings.
In April 2007, Lakelands sold the Carrickmacross Workhouse site, to Heron Property Ltd., Magherafelt, Northern Ireland.
Heron Property Ltd. have recently agreed to sell the 6-acre Workhouse site to Farney Community Development Group CLG., including our lease-hold front building, for €545,000.
This Appeal for Funding has been launched to save the 6-acre Carrickmacross Workhouse Site and its Mass Famine Graves, one of the very few Workhouses remaining in Ireland.
Farney Community Development Group CLG. have restored and converted the front block (comprising 24,000 sq. ft.) of the Old Poor Law Union Workhouse on the Shercock Road, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, into a Community Resource, Training and Heritage Centre, which currently supports 48 jobs.
Farney Community Development Group CLG. now seeks to undertake the following:
1. Through fund-raising and donations:
To purchase the freehold of the entire 6-acre Workhouse site, including our lease-hold front Building which cost €2 million to restore and redevelop.
2. Famine & Emigration Memorial Garden:
To develop a Famine Memorial Garden at the rear of the Workhouse, adjacent to the Mass Graves, to commemorate all those who died during the Great Hunger and also those who were forced to flee their homes to seek sustenance in foreign lands.
Long Term Aim
Over the next 6 years, the Farney Group aim to restore the remaining back-building, which comprises 26,000 sq ft, for the benefit of future generations, converting the remaining semi-derelict building into an Educational and Enterprize cluster. This will include a 150-seat auditorium with links to Universities world-wide for Educational, Enterprise and Business Development. The Farney Group aim to develop additional offices and enterprise space which will ensure sustainability of the project. The estimated cost of this refurbishment is €2 million.
There is now an opportunity for the Community of South Monaghan, with the help of our Diaspora overseas, to purchase and take ownership of our ancestral Mass Graves and Heritage Site.
The Ancestral Commemoration Memorial Park presents an opportunity to honour the memory of our kinfolk and their children who suffered and died of starvation and disease in a land of plenty.
As part of our patronage programme, we are seeking the generous support of our local community and the Irish Diaspora overseas who may wish to assist us in acquiring the Workhouse site and create a Famine Memorial Park.
We are now seeking Donors in Ireland and world-wide to subscribe towards Phase 1, the purchase of the entire 6-acre site, bringing it into Community Ownership under a Community Trust.
The Farney Group will be grateful for any donations, small or large.
Recognition of Major Benefactors:
All contributors who donate in excess of €1,000 will have their name inscribed on the Workhouse Benefactors Plaque, which will be displayed publically in the existing front workhouse building.
Donors of €5,000 or more will have the opportunity to name sections of the restored building. This once-off generosity will be a gesture to be proud of, especially for those with strong genealogical links to Co. Monaghan and Ireland.
If you decide to donate by cheque, kindly cross it and make it payable to Carrickmacross Workhouse Donations Account, and post same to the Workhouse, Shercock Road, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan - all monies will be acknowledged by a receipt.