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Objectors to the Proposal for Erecting a Workhouse in Letterkenny, Barony of Kilmacrenan, County Donegal, Ireland 1840

Extracted from the Londonderry Standard, October 28, 1840
Transcribed, Compiled and Submitted by
Len Swindley, Melbourne, Australia






From the proceedings of a Meeting lately held at Stranorlar, relative to the Poor Law, an opinion is very generally entertained that it is in contemplation to erect a Poor-house in the town of Letterkenny, in the Barony of Kilmacrenan.

We, the undersigned Proprietors and Occupiers of Land in the Barony of Kilmacrenan, beg leave to call your earnest and immediate attention to this our Memorial and Remonstrance against such a measure, should such be contemplated. First, the erection of a Poor-house in Letterkenny would be in its position on the verge of the Barony, entail the necessity of having two more in other parts of it. Secondly, from our knowledge of the state of pauperism in the Barony of Kilmacrenan, we are satisfied that one Poor-house, situated in some central part of the Barony, would be quite sufficient for the wants of the Poor; though to a stranger going through the Barony during the six summer months it would be appear, from the quantity of strolling families who are begging, that one half of the population at least were Paupers. Nor would it be undeceived until informed of the fact, that it is the annual practice of many hundreds of families in the mountainous parts of the Barony, as soon as they have planted their potatoes and cut their turf in the spring, to shut up their houses – the men going to England and Scotland for work, and the women and children going out to beg until the potatoes are ready to be dug when they all return home. None of these persons would ever become inmates of a Work-house, as they would not consent to give up the tenements they hold. That, satisfied as we are that one Work-house for the Barony of Kilmacrenan would be sufficient and being willing and desirous in every way in our power to facilitate the carrying out to the fullest extent the provisions of the Relief Bill, yet we cannot view, without great alarm, the results which may ensue from doing so in a manner so unnecessarily expensive and so disproportionate to the means of all those upon whom the supplying the funds which devolve.

The taxation upon this Barony, in the shape of County Cess, has already become very difficult of collection, and, in some cases, resistance to the Collector has been offered. If these burdens are to be increased by the cost of erecting three Work-houses, and maintaining them, when one would fully answer all the purposes, it will end in a net a net refusal on the part of a vast number of the Cess-payers to pay anything, a system of passive resistance adopted, or they or the Grand Juries of the County must give up the idea of maintain their Roads and Public Works; and by so doing, hundreds who now maintain themselves and families by the outlay of the County money will be thrown out of employment, and consequently driven to swell the list of paupers. To enumerate all the evils of carrying out this Act of Parliament in such an expensive manner, would occupy too much of your time to peruse, and we shall now only advert to a circumstance recently made known to us, namely, that a Memorial has been forwarded to you from the town of Letterkenny, advocating the expediency of making it a Union and building a Work-house there.

That Memorial has been got up privately, and without any public notice whatever, and does not express the public opinion on the subject. It has been got up by persons who are more guided by self-interest than the public good, and secretly, from the movers of it knowing the general opposition they would meet with, if publicity were given to it. We now respectfully appeal to you, in the confident hope that in so great and important a measure as this, you will weigh the matter carefully and impartially, and not allow the interests and prosperity of our Barony to be sacrificed by the selfish views of individuals, and so beneficial an act as the Relief Bill, to commence its career by creating disgust and opposition, and increasing the pauperism it is meant to relieve.

We are, your most obedient humble servants,

Name & Townland Name & Townland
STEWART James, Bart., J.P., Fortstewart STEWART Alex. R., J.P., Ards House
HUMPHREY Benjamin G., J.P., Cavanacor BATT Thomas, Ramullan
STEWART Charles F., J.P., Mep[h]agh Glebe ALEXANDER R., Clerk, Rathdonnell
STEWART Nathaniel, Shelfield DENNETT William Fortstewart
MANSFIELD Ralph, Castlewray WRAY William, J.P., Oakpark
MANSFIELD Francis, Castleshanaghan MCELHINNY Alex.
HOOD William, Lisnanees HART Henry, Glenalla
WYBRANTS Olphert, J.P., Ballyconnell OLPHERT Thomas Carrowcannon
ROBINSON Thomas, Ballynass IRWIN David, Clerk, Mevagh Glebe
MANSFIELD Henry Glenlary BUCHANAN William, Lisnanees
BUCHANAN Samuel, Lisnanees BLACK William, Ball Green
BLACK Alex., Ball Green REID James, Ramelton
PATTON Andrew, Ramelton WOOD James G., J.P., Castlegrove
HASTINGS Anthony, J.P., Clerk, Rector, Kilmacrenan MCLAUGHLIN William, Ramelton
GOFF William, Mevagh GAMBLE Samuel, D.D., Ramelton
BOND George, Ramelton SPROULE Samuel, Ramelton
BRIGHAM David Ramelton SPENCER Moses, Ramelton
GILLESPEY Robert, Ramelton REID Matthew, Ramelton
MCELWAINE William, Ramelton HAY Moses, Aghadreena
MULHOLLAND John, Rough Park BLACK William, Ball Green
SPEER William, Aughador BLACK William, Lakefield
MCELHINNY William, Aghalenty SPENCER Robert, Ramelton
STEWART Samuel, Ramelton WHITE Henry, Ramelton
DAVISON Samuel, Ramelton DILL Alexander, Rosreagh
LOCKHART John, Aughnish HAMILTON James, Ramelton
HUNTER John, Ramelton GALLAGHER Joseph, Ardnaree
GALLAGHER William, Newtownbaily HAY Joseph, Portlean
STEWART Robert, Gortnaskeagh GALLAGHER William, Ardnaree
STARRETT James, Gortaway STEWART Alex., Castleshanaghan
HUNTER Nathaniel, Breaghy COOK James, Ramelton
BLACK George, Ballylin CHEATLY James, Cairn
HUNTER James, New Mill PINKERTON Alex., Ramelton
KELLY Edward, Ramelton HAMILTON Robert, Gortnavern
ANDERSON Robert, Carrolina MCGHEE John, Hollymount
DEENY Charles, Ballyboe CONNELLOGUE Michael, Ballyboe
LOCKHART Robert, Ramullan DOGHERTY Michael, Ramullan
LOCKHART James Ramullan STITT Matthew, Ramullan
HENDERSON William, Ramullan HENDERSON Sam., Ramullan
BEGLEY James, Ramullan FREEL Anthony, Ramullan
MCGOWAN Geo., Ramullan BEGLEY John, Craigmaclerow
FREEL James, Saltpans SMITH John, Killygarvan
LOCKHART Samuel, Killygarvan LOCKHART John, Killygarvan
CANNON Thomas, Killygarvan STEWART Henry, Aghadreenan
DUNLEVY Anthony, Meentaghs MCCLOSKY John, Meentaghs
MCCLOSKY Dennis, Meentaghs COYLE Dennis, Meentaghs
MCGLASHIN James, Meentaghs GALLAGHER Peter, Meentaghs
GREEN Edward, Gortnatra MCCOACH David, Gortnatra
PATTERSON Alex., Augtore MCDIVITT John, Augtore
LAIRD Samuel, Ranny MCDADE Daniel, Carrowkeel
HAMILTON Samuel, Gortnatra FRIEL Edward, Ballymagowan
SCOTT Joseph, Ballymagowan SCOTT Henry, Ballymagowan
CAMPBELL Mark, Ballymagowan CAMPBELL Samuel, Ballymagowan
CONNELL Daniel, Ballymagowan WALLACE James, Ballymagowan
WALLACE Benjamin, Ballymagowan GALLAGHER Hugh, Morus
SWENY John, Rosnakill FREEL Francis, Rosnakeel
FREEL Humphrey, Rosnakill GALLAGHER Edward, Rosnakill
LOCKHART Oliver, Tamny MCGARVEY Thomas, Tamny
PATTON Robert H. Croghan BORELAND Samuel, Tamny
BORLAND Robert, Tamny DILL Moses, Springfield
MATURIN Henry, Clerk, Rector, Fannet Glebe HAY Robert, Aghadreenan
MCILWAINE Jas., sen., Knockbrack MCILWAINE Jas., jun., Knockbrack
WHITE James, Carran HAY Robert, Carran
CUTHBERT John, Carran CUTHBERT George, Carran
MCILWAINE Robert, Carran WALLACE Mark, Carran
STEWART Archibald, Carran GREEN Patrick, Carran
MCGLASHEN Daniel, Carran CARR John, Clonca
WILSON John, Clonca BORLAND Andrew, Clonca
SWEENY Dennis, Clonca SWEENY Michael, Clonca
MCILWAINE William, Drumfad FORSTER Joshua Drumfad
FORSTER George, Drumfad SHEERING John, Crucknagee
COYLE William, Crucknagee SHEALS John, Crucknagee
SHEERING Pat., Crucknagee COYLE Bernard, Crucknagee
GOBIN Patrick, Drumfad FREEL Patrick, Drumfad
DOGHERTY Brian, Kincanagh MCAVEAGH Bernard, Kincanagh
GRIFFIN Pat., Kincanagh DEENY Michael, Kincanagh
MCVEAGH John, Carlan MCCOACH William, Carlan
MCVEAGH William, Carlan MCVEAGH Patrick, Carlan
MORTIMER Samuel, Carlan MCGLASHIN Brian, Carlan
COLL James, Carlan MCATEER Patrick, Carlan
GRIFFIN Hugh, Carlan MCATEER Daniel, Carlan
FLETCHER Daniel, Gortnatreagh MCATEER John, Gortnatreagh
MCATEER Dan., Gortnatreagh COLL Daniel, Carlan
COLL Hugh, Carlan GRIFFIN Daniel, Carlan
MCELWEE Daniel, Carlan STEWART Francis, Carrowkeel
DUNLEVY Edward, Carrowkeel WILLIAMS Richard, Carrowkeel
DOGHERTY William, Carrowkeel WILLIAMS Robert, Carrowkeel
WARD William, Gortcally WARD David, Gortcally
MCCOACH James, Gortcally PRICE William, Dunmore
GALLAGHER John, Dunmore GALLAGHER Hugh, Dunmore
MCGRORY Thomas, jun., Dunmore MCGRORY Thomas, sen., Dunmore
MCGRORY John, Dunmore LOUGHRY Brian, Dunmore
FREEL Marcus, Dunmore DEERING John, Dunmore
MCGRORY Edward, sen., Dunmore MCGRORY Edward, jun., Dunmore
MCGRORY James, Dunmore KELLY Edward, Dunmore
FREEL Maurice, Dunmore WILLIAMS Charles, sen., Dunmore
WILLIAMS Charles, jun., Dunmore STEWART Francis, Carrowkeel
LOCKHART Oliver, Croghan  

The workhouse was erected in Letterkenny in 1844 and opened for inmates in March 1845, just prior to the commencement of the Great Famine.

The former Letterkenny Workhouse, High Road Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. Photo: Google Street View