Northern Ireland news

Untold story of Enniskillen workhouse to be brought to life with £2.1m lottery grant

The major heritage project 'will breathe new life' into Enniskillen Workhouse

THE story of the Enniskillen workhouse and the people it housed is to be told thanks to a £2.1m lottery grant.

The heritage project will "breathe new life" into the historic building, which opened in 1844 to accommodate 1,000 people.

It was one of 160 workhouses throughout Ireland designed by architect George Wilkinson.

The main workhouse was demolished in 1964 and all that remains is the Grade B2 listed entrance block, which is in need of urgent repair.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and South West College have been awarded £2.16m by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to undertake a two-year restoration project, starting this summer.

The workhouse entrance block will be restored, with part of the building known as the Porter’s Room redeveloped as mixed-use exhibition, reminiscence and display space.

Surviving records and minute books will be displayed with a dedicated heritage trail and there will be a hub for business innovation.

Throughout the restoration, a heritage skills and education programme will also enable more than 100 local craftspeople and contractors to benefit from accredited training and 12 apprenticeships will be created.

Paul Mullan from the National Lottery Heritage Fund said: "It is wonderful to announce our support for this ambitious project which will breathe new life into this historic building.

"This project will restore the remaining entrance block to create modern facilities for business and enterprise whilst ensuring its important connections to the people who were housed here and its social heritage are opened up and conserved."

Siobhán Currie, chair of Fermanagh and Omagh council, said: "The project aims to develop local skills, business and enterprise opportunities while remembering a very important part of our shared history in a meaningful and respectful way".

Michael McAlister, chief executive of South West College, said: "The restoration of the workhouse will create a range of exciting opportunities for local people including new skills opportunities through the roll-out of a dedicated heritage skills development programme and also the opportunity to secure business innovation and enterprise development support through the new hub which will be located in the restored workhouse."

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