The Famine Mass Burials at the Kilkenny Union Workhouse

One of only four sets of rosaries discovered in the Kilkenny workhouse mass burials. This set was found in the right hand of an adult female who was buried in a pit together with thirteen other people. Photo: Jonny Geber
One of only four sets of rosaries discovered in the Kilkenny workhouse mass burials. This set was found in the right hand of an adult female who was buried in a pit together with thirteen other people. Photo: Jonny Geber

The remains of 1000 people, inmates of the former Kilkenny workhouse, were discovered in 2005 during an archaeological excavation in Kilkenny City. More than half of those discovered were under 18 years old. In 2010 the remains were re-interred at the Kilkenny Famine Memorial Garden on Hebron Road.

Dr Jonny Geber has undertaken extensive research on the human remains found at the workhouse. In his scholarly book “Victims of Ireland’s Great Famine. The Bioarchaeology of Mass Burials at Kilkenny Union Workhouse (2015). University Press of Florida”.

Jonny provides a new perspective on a group of people about whom little was previously known.  His findings enable the story of the people who died in the workhouse to be told. They are no longer forgotten, and their lives and their fate can be fully acknowledged and recognised.

Kilkenny County Council was pleased to make contribution towards the publication of this book.

The following document is a short essay by Jonny Geber – The Famine Mass Burials at the Kilkenny Union Workhouse.

One of only four sets of rosaries discovered in the Kilkenny workhouse mass burials. This set was found in the right hand of an adult female who was buried in a pit together with thirteen other people. Photo: Jonny Geber

One of only four sets of rosaries discovered in the Kilkenny workhouse mass burials. This set was found in the right hand of an adult female who was buried in a pit together with thirteen other people. Photo: Jonny Geber