The Barley Field
By the end of the century almost 3,500 people had died in Dungannon workhouse and the majority were buried in a graveyard which measured approximately 100 yards long by 28 yards wide with a gravel path up the centre. By the time the workhouse closed in 1948 that number had risen to almost 4,000.
Known as the ‘Barley Field’, the burials here were often out carried with only a handful of people present. In times of cholera and typhus, such as during the Great Famine, the burials took place in a hurried fashion with only one person present.
Only occasionally did family members come to reclaim a body and bring the person for burial to a local cemetery.
The workhouse burial ground was never consecrated, prompting the local branch of the Society of St Vincent de Paul in 1903 to challenge the Dungannon Town Council on the matter, demanding that the workhouse dead would be sent for burial in consecrated grounds. Their demands fell on deaf ears and so the dead remained unmarked until 2022.