Portumna Workhouse, County Galway

We passed through the gates in pairs
although I’d never felt more alone,
a coldness creeping in,
seeping into bone.

And in the walls I looked,
the shadows
searching for his face,
but in my heart I knew, I felt,
no God within this place.
— Claire Loader

A coldness lingers at the reception hall of the workhouse at Portumna, no matter how big of a fire is blazing in her hearth, as if the walls cannot relax, cannot allow themselves to forget what they have seen.  One of 163 workhouses built in Ireland in the mid-1800s, Portumna workhouse is now home to a group of dedicated staff and volunteers working hard to preserve the memory of a period in Irish history that both fascinates and haunts.

To read my short story about the architect who designed all 163 workhouses built in Ireland, click here

Copyright © 2017 Claire Loader. All Rights Reserved.