Documentary on One

Lost Children: Children In Irish Workhouses

The story of children in Irish workhouses in the 19th century. This documentary looks at the conditions and lives of those children at that time and the government assisted emigration of young girls from those workhouses all the way over to Australia (1982).

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Lost Children: Children In Irish Workhouses

The story of children in Irish workhouses in the 19th century with Joseph Robbins.

The programme includes reports on children in workhouses; the closed workhouse in Clifden; classes of child "inmates"; the effect of patronageand the numbers of children involved.

At a time when the workhouse was the only public charity, this documentary looks at what life was like in the workhouse - the paltry meals, inefficient schooling, how little productive work was actually done.

The workhouses were infamous - they were overcrowded, they were considered 'schools for crime'. It was an unstable place to be: riots were frequent and staff were sacked for incompetence.

This documentary looks at how the legal system of the time tried to deal with the problems of the poor and hungry. The first workhouse opened in 1840 At that time there was a period of prosperity in Australia, but the Irish immigrants were often resented once they got there. and in 1848, the government assisted the emigration of females to Australia.

By 1866, boarding-out was introduced, and child care improvements were beginning to be introduced. Voluntary societies and reformatories came into play to avoid the dreaded workhouse.

Contributors: Joseph Robbins(Author), Prof.Colm Kiernan (Australia).

Presenter: Andy O'Mahony

Producer: Adrian Moynes

First broadcast January 5th 1982

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries

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