Pauper Limerick


Of the twelve houses of industry established under the Irish poor law of 1771-2, this is the only admission book known to have survived. The register of the Limerick House of Industry contains information on the age, sex, place of origin, religion, medical condition, admission and discharge, amongst other details, of 2,747 inmates for the period 1774-1793. While revealing the mechanisms employed to administer a significant institution, the register also provides a singular record for a social group whose history is necessarily elusive. There is evidence of individual strategies for dealing with poverty, infirmity, disease and lunacy. Genealogists researching families in Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and Cork (the places in which most of the inmates originated) will also find it useful as will those historians interested in the history of those counties.