Kilrush Poor Law Union Minutes Item
Level of description
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
Name of creator(s)
Board of Guardians
Administrative / Biographical history
The Poor Law was extended to Ireland by an Act of 1838
based on the English Poor Law Act of 1834 and operated until 1923. The country was divided into Poor Law unions
each of which built a work house which were run by Poor Law boards of elected guardians
and ex-officio guardians. Ex-officio guardians were elected yearly at meetings of local magistrates and were composed mainly of Justices of the Peace. These were the first representative local bodies in Ireland
elected by owners and occupiers of property. Tenants were entitled however to deduct half their rates from their rent. These were placed under the centralised control of the Poor Law Commissioners. The system was funded by cess payers
assessed originally on District Electoral Divisions according to the numbers of paupers. The Poor Law Guardians were responsible for the provision of relief to the poor but gathered other functions over time. In 1846
they became responsible for providing and equipping hospitals and dispensaries for the sick poor; in 1856 operated as the burial board for the rural parts of the union and from 1863 were responsible for the registration of births and deaths notably relating to public health
the boarding out of children and rural housing. Between 1874 and 1899 they were the rural sanitary authority employing dispensary medical officers to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Ireland was divided into 130 Poor Law Unions
each of which built a workhouse.
Original electoral divisions included Kilballyoan
it included Cahermurphy
The surviving records of the Clare Boards of Guardians were deposited in the County Archives in 1999 by Clare Local Studies Library.
Content and Structure
Scope and content
The Boards of Guardians were obliged to maintain a large variety of records
which were closely inspected by the Poor Law Commissioners. Although a multitude of records once existed for each union it is largely minute books that have survived. Meetings were usually held twice a week and the minutes were entered in pre-printed minute books. Rough minute books for many unions have survived. These generally were not indexed.
The minutes contain mainly statistical information on the financial administration and maintenance of the workhouses under their control; includes details of the workhouse population under the following subheadings
the numbers remaining in
inmates admitted during the week
those discharged or the number that had died-subdivided into able bodied males and female
aged and infirm persons and adults above 15 years of age but not working
boys and girls above nine and under 15 years of age
children above 5 and under 9 years of age
infants under two years of age
with the total remaining on the said date under each heading
with a return of the number of
notices of marriage
confirmation of numbers in the workhouse register
financial reports on payments and receipts and the balance in the account
details of rates collected from cess payers listing the ratepayer
the amount collected and amount remaining; a report from the clerk detailing the cost of provisions and necessaries during the week
the general average cost of an inmate
the average cost in the infirmary and in the Fever Hospital
orders for provisions details of the clothing account
and establishment account
workhouse invoice account
outdoor relief invoice account.
The collection includes an abstract of letters received from the Local Government Board with a note of decisions reached and orders made. These deal with the general running of the workhouse
tenders and contracts for maintenance
workhouse staff recruitment
remuneration and disciplinary matters.
System of arrangement
The Minutes are arranged chronologically according to each union. Also included are Rough Minute Books. The Clare Board of Guardian collection is divided into five sub series; these subseries being the records which survived from each Unions.
Conditions of Access and Use
Conditions governing access
By appointment with the Archivist
Conditions governing reproduction
Not to be reproduced in any format without the prior consent of the Archivist.
Language/scripts of material
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Existence and location of originals
Clare County Archives
Subject / Keywords
Board of Guardians
Kilrush Poor Law Union
IE CLCCA BG K
Rules or Conventions