Early 17th century Almshouses

After the dissolution of the monasteries in Ireland, charitable institutions were founded by wealthy and powerful individuals. The almshouses on the corner of Main Street and Church Street, were founded by Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork. Often described as the oldest surviving almshouses in Ireland, these, three storey houses, were built about thirty years after Sir Richard Shee's almshouse in Kilkenny. Widows and widowers were the most common occupants and were normally kept apart by assigning them to different floors.

The occupants were supplied with fuel and an annual allowance from the Duke of Devonshire. I particularly loved the six pointed arched doorways and the two mullioned windows on Church Street. Another nice feature is the carved plaque, facing onto the Main Street, bearing the Richard Boyle coat of arms. Recent modifications were made to the building and they now function as accommodation for senior citizens. A short walk up Church Street will take you to St Mary's Collegiate Church.

Arched doorway

Church Street

Boyle Coat of Arms

Mullioned window

Situated: Very easy. The almshouses are located on the west side of the Main Street opposite Tynte's Castle.

Discovery Map 81: X 1025 7821. Last visit Sept 2019.

Longitude: 7° 51' 3" W

Latitude: 51° 57' 22" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

Ref: Kelly, David, and Tadhg O’Keeffe. “CHARITABLE CONSTRUCTIONS.” Archaeology Ireland, vol. 32, no. 1, 2018, pp. 30–34. JSTOR,

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