Celbridge Workhouse/Hospital

Celbridge Workhouse/Hospital

Celbridge workhouse was built in 1839. Photo taken in 2012 by Eoghan Corry

Celbridge workhouse was constructed between 1839 and 1841 and designed to house 519 people from Celbridge, Lucan, Rathcoole, Leixlip, Maynooth and Kilcock.

It was erected just before the Great Famine and its highest census figure was 500 inmates in 1851. It was claimed that Celbridge was one of the best managed workhouses in the period.

After the 1860s the workhouse was used as a fever hospital and a home for the elderly and infirm, and for unmarried mothers.

Orphans and illegitimate children were fostered out in to the village community from the workhouse and also from the Holy Faith convents in Dublin.

In 1922 the workhouse was used as a base by the Free State army and was the first barracks in which the uniform of the new Free State army was worn. Soldiers marched from here to take possession of Beggar’s Bush barracks.

In 1923 the hospital was closed. In 1933 the Union Paint factory was established on the site. In 1939 the current Garda barracks was built on part of the workhouse site.

On an adjoining roadside cemetery there is a memorial to between 1,500 and 2,500 inmates who died and were buried there during the Great Famine of 1845/47.