LIMERICK ALMSHOUSES

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The oldest almshouse is that of Dr. Hall, founded about the commencement of the last century. The present neat and convenient edifice, erected in 1761, contains apartments for thirteen men and twelve women, who receive each £5 a year; also school-rooms, and an episcopal chapel. The annual income is £304, part of which is applied to the use of Hall's school, already noticed, and to some minor endowments.

The Corporation almshouse, erected soon after the siege of Limerick, on ground anciently occupied by St. Nicholas's church, is adapted to the reception of 22 reduced widows, each having 40 shillings a year and the use of a garden. The corporation also pays certain annuities to the widows of aldermen and burgesses. St. George's Parochial Asylum, instituted by the late Rev. W. D. Hoare, accommodates 14 Protestant widows. Mrs. Villiers' almshouse, erected a few years ago, in pursuance of the will of Mrs. Hannah Villiers, is a handsome Gothic structure of stone, forming three sides of a square; and is an asylum for 12 Protestant or Presbyterian widows, each of whom receives £24 Irish per annum; a preference is to be given to any descendant of the testatrix who may apply for admission.

The widow of Ald. Craven founded an almshouse for poor Protestant widows; the building has been taken down; but 50 widows of the parishes of St. Mary, St. John, and St. Munchin annually receive £4 each; the remainder is divided at Christmas among the poor. The same lady also left £60, the interest of which is given to confined debtors and the poor of the city parishes. The widow of George Rose, Esq., deposited £800 in the hands of the dean and chapter, the interest to be distributed every Christmas equally among sixteen poor widows. The interest of divers sums given at various periods by the members of the Pery family, amounting to £17 per annum, is distributed among the poor of St. John's parish.

St. John's parochial almshouse for seven poor Protestant widows is supported by subscriptions and by bequests of Mrs. Craven, Mrs. Crone, and the Earl of Ranfurly; and Mrs. Banks having bequeathed the sum of £8768. 12. 8. to trustees for charitable purposes, it has been apportioned to the Fever Hospital, the Female Orphan Asylum, the Lying-in Hospital, the House of Industry, the county Infirmary, and the Dispensary. A Charitable Loan Fund, formed, in 1770, chiefly by subscriptions of the Pery family, has afforded accommodation to many thousands by loans of three guineas each. In 1810, the inhabitants subscribed the Jubilee Loan fund, amounting to £1200, which has since accumulated by the addition of interest: about £120 is lent weekly, in sums of not more than £4 each, which are repaid by weekly instalments.

A Fund for the Encouragement of Industry was established in 1822, out of the surplus fund subscribed in England for the distressed Irish, the loans being limited to £6; the sums so issued in the year ending March 17th, 1836, amounted to £4200. 10., and the amount repaid with interest during the same period was £4500. 13. 11. A Charitable Pawn Office, under the title of the "Mont de Pieté," similar to establishments of the same name throughout the continent, has been instituted by Matthew Barrington, Esq., with the view of allowing the poor small loans at low interest; the capital is raised by debentures, to be repaid with interest; and the profits of the institution are to be applied towards the support of Barrington's Hospital. The building, which adjoins the hospital, is now almost complete; it is nearly circular, with a piazza, surmounted by a lofty and elegant dome and cupola, and has been erected at the sole expense of the founder.

A company for granting annuities to widows, settlements for wives, and endowments for children, on payment of an annual premium, was established in 1806, under the title of the Munster General Annuity Endowment Association. An Asylum for the Blind, the house and chapel for which have been lately built, will accommodate 12 men and 12 women; a Magdalene Asylum, conducted by a committee of ladies, has been established on a small scale; a Mendicity Association is supported by voluntary contributions; and, in 1826, an Institution for the Relief of Sick and Indigent Room-keepers was formed by a subscription of several hundred pounds: there are also a Savings' Bank and a Mechanics' Institute.

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