Limavady Poor Union Workhouse

Fireside Talks 2024
2024 Fireside Talks
11th March 2024
Mayor’s Reception for Roe Valley Ancestral Researchers’ volunteers at Green Lane Museum
15th April 2024

Limavady Poor Union Workhouse

Project Attributes


Limavady Poor Union Workhouse


Limavady Community Development Initiative


15th April 2024

The Legacy of Limavady Poor Union Workhouse: A Testament to Resilience and Community


Nestled in the heart of Ireland’s historical landscape lies the Limavady Poor Union Workhouse, a monument to a bygone era and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. This workhouse stands as one of the most well-preserved examples of its kind, offering a poignant glimpse into the past and a powerful message for the future.

The Limavady Poor Union Workhouse’s story began in the wake of the Irish Poor Law Act of 1838, which led to the establishment of the Newton Limavady Poor Union in 1839. Spanning an area of approximately 240 square miles, this union became a pivotal point for the destitute and desperate.

George Wilkinson, an English architect, was tasked with designing the workhouses across Ireland’s Poor Unions. Following a standard set of plans, the Limavady Workhouse was constructed on a seven-acre site, with costs totalling around £7,000, including fittings. Its doors opened on March 15, 1842, welcoming its first inmates on that very afternoon.

For nearly a century, the workhouse served as a refuge for those in need until its closure on April 1st, 1930. The last of its inhabitants were transferred to the Coleraine Workhouse, marking the end of an era. The site then transitioned into a healthcare facility, known first as Limavady District Hospital and later as Roe Valley District Hospital, serving the community until the 1990s.

In 1997, the Limavady Community Development Initiative (LCDI) took over the stewardship of the building. Today, they continue to breathe new life into the historic walls, running various projects and services that bolster the local community. Visitors can explore the workhouse’s history through guided tours, which include a dormitory and the gate lodge, with plans to further expand these offerings.

A stone’s throw from the workhouse lies the paupers’ graveyard, where a yearly memorial service is held close to the workhouse’s opening anniversary. This solemn event unites staff, board members, and the Limavady community in remembrance of those laid to rest there.





The Limavady Poor Union Archive Project,

A volunteer-led initiative within LCDI, aims to delve deeper into the workhouse’s rich history. By examining materials discovered within the building and contributions from local residents, the project seeks to document and preserve the narratives intertwined with the workhouse’s existence. They welcome any local knowledge on the history of the buildings and hope to run some drop – in events in the near future.

As part of the project LCDI welcomed Sarah Mc Collum who presented the audience with a wealth of knowledge and information about Workhouses with some of her research focusing on Limavady workhouse.

The group also welcomed Sarah and Joanne from Causeway museum services across for an informative session on documentation and training on using NI Community Archive.

This project is running in collaboration with Causeway Museum Services and Binveneagh & Coastal Lowlands Partnership Scheme.

The Limavady Poor Union Workhouse is more than just a structure; it is a symbol of the enduring strength of a community that has faced adversity with courage and compassion. It stands as a reminder of where we have come from and the progress we have made, inspiring us to continue supporting one another and building a future grounded in understanding and respect. For more information on the workhouse or on the archive project,  contact the office directly at . The legacy of the Limavady Poor Union Workhouse lives on, not just in the physical edifice, but in the spirit of community service that defines the heart of Limavady.



Poster giving notice for sealed tenders.