4. Bawnboy Workhouse or Union Buildings
A fine cut-stone group of buildings erected in 1852. It served the poor of the parishes of Templeport, Corlough, Kildallan, the two Drumreillys, Newtowngore, Ballinamore, Swanlinbar and part of Glangevlin.
A Board of Guardians governed each union; some nominated by the Grand Jury and the others by the voters of the ratepayers. The Guardians levied a rate on the union and used the proceeds to support the workhouse. Discipline was strict in the workhouse and the diet was limited. Men were segregated from their wives and children from their parents. From left to right in the front row of buildings there were the following sections- lock up, female probation ward. girls school, waiting room, boardroom, office, entrance gates, masters' rooms, surgery store, boys' school and male probationary ward.
In the central portion of the building with steps up to the entrance hallway- on the right of the hallway was the dairy with a window, wide and low through which food was passed into the kitchen. On the left of the hallway are two doors, the first is on the porter's room, the second a stairway.
A door at the end of the hallway, two steps up, leads directly into the kitchen. There are two boilers in the left hand corners of of the kitchen and a fireplace in the centre of the left hand wall. A door through the centre of the back wall (it may be hoarded up) led to the dining hall. There are two entrance doors, left and right, on the dining room walls. The dining room and chapel are now one big room (since 1954). In the back (north-east side) there were (are) two doors, right and left through which the inmates entered for Sunday mass- men through the right hand door and women through the left hand door (as viewed from the body of the chapel). Mrs. Mary Darcy remembers seeing the inmates entering the church on Sunday mornings in the early 1920's.
Immediately to the right hand side of the chapel in the second row of workhouse buildings is a passage with a stairway. It was here on the first and second floors that a vocational school was opened in 1933 when Miss Daisy O'Conner took charge of a domestic economy class, to which, were added manual instruction (woodwork) and general subjects in 1934.
In the first row of buildings (Ballycornnell side) the boys schoolroom became a dance hall in the 1920's and was used for meetings, concerts and Irish dancing classes` during the following decades. When dance halls became more modern the workhouse hall was still used for volley-ball, basketball and even football and hurling training. Michael Bannon, clerk of the union, lived in the rooms to the left of the entrance gates. Hugh Maguire, caretaker, lived to the right of the entrance gates. Nurse Byrnes lived in the middle of the last row of buildings. Francie and Katie Gallagher lived in the North-east of the building. Garda Doyle lived in the left section of the middle row of buildings.
The workhouse from the front where the entrance arch used to be.
The rear of the workhouse, this photo was taken from near the graveyard.