An example of the original pre-famine Irish workhouses designed by George Wilkinson, Birr Workhouse was relatively unaltered, being used mostly for light industry after it was closed in 1921. However, deterioration is setting in and a plan is urgently needed. Opened 1842 as Parsonstown Union Workhouse, closed 1921. One of only 9 Irish Poor Law Unions whose records were analysed for the National Famine Research Project in the 1990s.
Educational potential is immense. Myths abound about workhouses and should be challenged with experience and facts. Potential to interpret aspects of politics, local government, poverty, welfare, medicine, education, emigration, administration, 1842 to 1921.