of a workhouse
The heading on this week's title was above a disturbing
report on Naas Workhouse in the 11th November 1905 edition
of this newspaper.
The sub-title Startling Discolours at Naas Board of
Guardians was an apt summary of conditions in the
institution as reported by Mr. D.J. Purcell, Clerk of the
Union. He revealed that the Masters register of occupants
was inaccurate, sometimes listing persons who were not resident,
or not listing persons who were.
One man, Loughlin Delaney, was recorded as being admitted
in June 1904 and remaining there until he died over a year
later, but his name had been omitted from the books months
before his demise.
Another man, an inmate since 1900, was not on the register
for over six months. A woman who had been discharged was
left on the register, while a man who was resident was shown
as discharged; others were registered twice. The Master
told of an instance where a woman inmate had visitors, and
when they left she walked out the gate with them, without
the porter seeing her. The Guardians recommended that the
situation should be reported to the Local Government Board.
The Guardians were also concerned about the problems
of Mrs Marian F. Gallagher from Monasterevan. She outlined
her piteous tale at Rathfarnham Court when she sought a
maintenance order against her husband of ten years.
Claiming that She had brought him a fortune of £1,200
from which they purchased the house in Rathfarnham.
But he had begun to ill treat her, he used to handle
of a whip to prevent her going to Mass, and he locked her
in and made a prisoner of her.
He went away frequently for several days, so she left him
and went into lodgings. The magistrate made an order for
the payment by Gallagher of 15/-weekly to his wife. As she
was a resident in Naas Workhouse, the Court ordered the
solicitors Brown and McCann should take legal action against
Gallagher for the maintenance of his wife in the Workhouse.
Stephen J. Brown himself was reported in the paper when
he made the practical suggestion at the urban Council that
a fruit and vegetable market should be established in Naas.
We are also very pleased to see that a system of awarding
prizes, by surprise visits of an inspector, for the best
butter exhibited at the market is to be revived.
The report criticised Councils in general, as lacking
an initiative, and that Naas Council was setting a headline
to its contemporary bodies in the Province.
Athy Urban Council was not having such a constructive time.
Derogatory remarks had been made at a meeting concerning
the yard and slaughterhouse of a butcher, Patrick Whelan.
However, he produced a letter from the Medical Officer of
Health saying that he had inspected the house and yard and
that they were in a perfectly clean and sanitary condition.
And there was trouble with the new water scheme. An engineer
resident in London had been appointed to the works, but
another engineer, Frank Aylward, claimed that he had already
been given the contract and that he had relinquished his
practice in Dublin and moved to live nearer to Athy.
Then he heard a rumour that one influential member of the
Council did not want him, and had proposed that the work
be abandoned for the present. He lodged a claim for £245
which would have been the amount of his fees if the work
had been initiated. It was decided to adjourn consideration
of the matter, and to refer it to the Councils solicitor.
Another problem aggravating a Council member was the abuse
of Curraclone cemetery. He described it as a regular
common, and that poachers were guilty of desecrating the
resting place of the dead by tearing up the earth and ferreting
in the place for rabbits. It was decided to appoint
a caretaker to prevent such desecrating in the future.
A more agreeable story was that of a sportsman from the
town who had a novel experience when out shooting. He fired
at a covey of partridges and a bird dropped. When he went
to pick up the bird he found it standing and apparently
He set his dog on the bird several times, and then he threw
the partridge in the air to encouraged the dog to fetch
it. But to his astonishment and utter disgust the
bird flew away, and left its late owner to return home with
an empty bag. Those interested in natural history could
perhaps explain the phenomenon.
Courtesy of the Con Costello of the Leinster Leader