Kanturk Poor-Law Union was declared in December 1839 and a workhouse, to accommodate 800 persons, was contracted for £8,200 inclusive of fittings, to be completed by October 1841. It served the area between Millstreet and Milford, and from Tullylease to Nadd ,with a population of 85,561. However during the terrible times of the Famine there were often 1,800 paupers living in the workhouse
In the usual manner, this complex included hospital, chapel, schools, workrooms, dormitories, mortuary, etc, and a boardroom where the Guardians held monthly meetings.
The Union Workhouse was located at the western extremity of Kanturk townland on the site now occupied by Kanturk Community Hospital, the former-medical officer’s residence, dispensary and the town’s first major local government housing development, St. Patrick’s Place.
Entrance to the workhouse was at the St. Patrick’s Place end which had two gate-lodges on opposite sides of the entrance gates. The boardroom was also located at the eastern end while the space between road and workhouse wall was under trees.
Kanturk Union opened its gates and doors in 1844. The new Kanturk Hospital was built in 1927.