Enniskillen workhouse set to be completed this summer

By Rebecca McGirr
The Enniskillen Workhouse is set to be complete in August this year and will provide tours, accommodate school visits, and enable people to look up records of people that went through the workhouse.
The building is steeped in history. It was commissioned to be built in 1841 and finished in 1844, a year before the famine broke out in 1845 to help people as there was no National Health Service. During the famine South West Ulster was hardest hit with 29 percent of the Fermanagh population that died.The workhouse became a general hospital but was largely demolished in 1964 to make way for the Erne Hospital.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded South West College and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council £2,343,000, to undertake a major heritage project on the site helping to restore the workhouse as well as offer a heritage and skills education programme through the college.
Robert Fitzpatrick the Heritage Skills co-ordinator for the project said, ‘There is a number of projects running alongside this such as bursary holders who will gain a level 3 NVQ qualification in heritage skills, we have a level 3 award which is a two day course for construction people that want to know more about repair and maintenance of heritage and then we have workhouse tours, we had 31 people attend on Saturday, and then we are working with the schools to make them aware of the importance of heritage, protecting these buildings and we have a few public events about saving these buildings and restoration.’
‘One of the courses offered is specific to pre 1919 buildings so there is many of these buildings in Ireland, especially in Enniskillen, so this is a qualification for people going forward to restore these buildings,’ he said.
Mr Fitzpatrick explained that when the workhouse is completed the first floor space will be revitalised as a state of the art hub for business innovation and enterprise and will provide mentoring and training to support student entrepreneurship and growing business and people will be able to avail of the resources at South West College.
The ground floor will be an area of reminiscence and records, visitors and educational visits and what life was like in the workhouse.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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