The Poor Law  Unions of Ireland.

The collaboration of Hugh Casement  is gratefully acknowledged in the preparation of this schedule of the Poor law Unions.

In 1838 Ireland was divided into unions of parishes for administering the system of providing relief for the destitute. A workhouse and a fever hospital were built at each centre. The intention was that each centre would serve an area up to about 10 miles distant; therefore it was not always the largest towns that were chosen. The scheme was financed by levying rates on property, based on the tithe valuation. Guardians were appointed to the workhouses, usually local squires and magistrates.

Some records of the poor-law unions have survived, for example for the 28 unions that are now in Northern Ireland (held in the Public Record Office in Belfast). Sir Richard Griffith's valuation 1858-64 was based on the subdivisions county : union : parish : townland. This list gives the 164 unions shown on a map; the name of the county has been added where it differs from the name of the place. Be aware that the parishes making up the union often lay in neighbouring counties. The modern names have been used for Queen's Co. = Laois and King's Co. = Offaly. The spelling Derry has been used since it is shorter than Londonderry. It is hoped to extend this list one day to include the parishes in each union -- several thousand in all.

Abbeyleix (Laois) pronounced -leash


Ardee (Louth)


Athlone (Westmeath)

Athy (Kildare)

Bailieborough (Cavan)

Ballina (Mayo)

Ballinasloe (Galway)

Ballinrobe (Mayo)

Ballycastle (Antrim)

Ballymahon (Longford)

Ballymena (Antrim)

Ballymoney (Antrim)

Ballyshannon (Donegal)

Ballyvaghan (Clare) old spelling Ballyvaughan

Balrothery (Dublin)

Baltinglass (Wicklow)

Banbridge (Down)

Bandon (Cork)

Bantry (Cork)

Bawnboy (Cavan)

Belfast (Antrim & Down)

Belmullet (Mayo)

Birr (Offaly) formerly called Parsonstown

Borrisokane (Tipperary)

Boyle (Roscommon)

Cahersiveen (Kerry)

Callan (Kilkenny)


Carrick on Shannon (Leitrim)

Carrick on Suir (Tipperary)

Carrickmacross (Monaghan)

Cashel (Tipperary)

Castlebar (Mayo)

Castleblayney (Monaghan)

Castlecomer (Kilkenny)

Castlederg (Tyrone)

Castlerea (Roscommon)

Castletown (Cork)


Celbridge (Kildare)

Claremorris (Mayo)

Clifden (Galway)

Clogheen (Tipperary)

Clogher (Tyrone)

Clonakilty (Cork)

Clones (Monaghan) pronounced clon-esh

Clonmel (Tipperary)

Coleraine (Derry)

Cookstown (Tyrone)

Cootehill (Cavan)


Corrofin (Clare)

Croom (Limerick)

Delvin (Westmeath)

Dingle (Kerry)

Donaghmore (Laois)


Downpatrick (Down)

Drogheda (Louth)

Dromore West (Sligo)

Dublin North

Dublin South

Dundalk (Louth)

Dunfanaghy (Donegal)

Dungannon (Tyrone)

Dungarvan (Waterford)

Dunmanway (Cork)

Dunshaughlin (Meath)

Edenderry (Offaly)

Ennis (Clare)

Enniscorthy (Wexford)

Enniskillen (Fermanagh)

Ennistimon (Clare) old spelling Ennistymon

Fermoy (Cork)


Glennamaddy (Galway)

Glenties (Donegal)

Glin (Limerick)

Gorey (Wexford)

Gort (Galway)

Gortin (Tyrone) incorporated into Omagh ca 1870

Granard (Longford)

Inishowen (Donegal)

Irvinestown (Fermanagh) formerly called Lowtherstown

Kanturk (Cork)

Kells [Ceanannus Mor] (Meath)

Kenmare (Kerry)

Kilkeel (Down)


Killadysert (Clare)

Killala (Mayo)

Killarney (Kerry)

Kilmacthomas (Waterford)

Kilmallock (Limerick)

Kilrush (Clare)

Kinsale (Cork)

Larne (Antrim)

Letterkenny (Donegal)

Limavady (Derry) also known as Newtownlimavady


Lisburn (Antrim)

Lismore (Waterford)

Lisnaskea (Fermanagh)

Listowel (Kerry)

Londonderry also known as Derry


Loughrea (Galway) pronounced -ri

Lowtherstown: see Irvinestown

Lurgan (Armagh)

Macroom (Cork)

Magherafelt (Derry)

Mallow (Cork)

Manorhamilton (Leitrim)

Midleton (Cork)

Milford (Donegal)

Millstreet (Cork)

Mitchelstown (Cork)

Mohill (Leitrim)


Mount Bellew (Galway)

Mountmellick (Laois)

Mullingar (Westmeath)

Naas (Kildare)

Navan (Meath)

Nenagh (Tipperary)

Newcastle (Limerick) also known as Newcastle West

Newport (Sligo)

New Ross (Wexford)

Newry (Down)

Newtownards (Down)

Oldcastle (Meath)

Omagh (Tyrone)

Oughterard (Galway)

Parsonstown: see Birr

Portumna (Galway)

Rathdown (Dublin)

Rathdrum (Wicklow)

Rathkeale (Limerick)


Roscrea (Tipperary)

Scarriff (Clare)

Shannon (Clare)

Shillelagh (Wicklow)

Skibbereen (Cork)

Skull (Cork)


Strabane (Tyrone)

Stranorlar (Donegal)

Strokestown (Roscommon)

Swinford (Mayo)

Thomastown (Kilkenny)

Thurles (Tipperary) two syllables


Tobercurry (Sligo)

Tralee (Kerry)

Trim (Meath)

Tuam (Galway)

Tulla (Clare)

Tullamore (Offaly)

Urlingford (Kilkenny)


Westport (Mayo)


Youghal (Cork)



Orr Name Study Ulster Scots Reference material