Dungannon Workhouse Farm and Agriculture

In comparison to other workhouses, the Dungannon workhouse farm was relatively small and occupied only two acres of ground which adjoined the complex.

The workhouse farm was greatly underutilized in the aftermath of the Famine and on the two acres of land only six men (three of whom were over 15 years of age) were employed.

However, with the reduction of numbers in the early 1850s- there were only 122 people left in the workhouse at the end of September 1854, for example- attention shifted towards a means of becoming self-reliant within Dungannon workhouse. The workhouse farm was given greater priority by the master and more people were employed on it. 

In 1857 a sample of half an acre of dramhead cabbages grown on the Dungannon workhouse farm was shown at local agricultural fairs and which weighed twenty-eight pounds, prove of the farming skills of ‘inmates’ and staff alike. 

Later pigs were reared for sale on the workhouse farm, while potatoes were in such supply as to feed the ‘house’ for serveral months of the year. Hay was also sold from the farm, as were ‘surplus vegetables’.

The workhouse farm on occasion led the way in local farming matters. In 1892, for example, Thomas Tackaberry, master of the workhouse noted in his journal that:

The potatoes in the workhouse grounds sprayed with a solution of sulphate of copper and lime, and Mr Gray of Scotch St would wish to try the experiment tomorrow on a plot of potatoes in a field off the Killymeal road’.

By the early 1920s the workhouse farm could realize an annual profit of over £120.