The "Lady Peel" and the Bishop's Farewell

Lieutenant Henry, the Government Emigration Officer was responsible for selecting suitable emigrants - young female orphans - for Australia. Two thirds of the Guardians were required to give their consent to the emigration process.

On Wednesday March 7th, 1849 a party of twenty-two young orphan girls from Carlow Workhouse set out on the long journey to Australia. The Workhouse Matron took charge of them because of their young age. She accompanied them as far as Dublin, where they embarked for Plymouth on the first leg of their voyage.

Dr. Haly, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin was also travelling by train to Dublin early that March day. He was surprised to see so many young girls from the Workhouse at the railway station

Railway station, Carlow 1

Carlow Railway Station was built in 1845 and was designed by Sir John MacNeill. It is located in Carlow Town, on the Dublin Waterford line. The Station is an example of Jacobean Revival architecture. It comprises a two storey central block and two single storey wings. There are two platforms, a signal box and footbridge and the station also has offices and waiting areas. It is built of yellow brick with granite features particularly in the window dressings and drip moulds.

Carlow County Library

Railway station, Carlow 1

Carlow Railway Station was built in 1845 and was designed by Sir John MacNeill. It is located in Carlow Town, on the Dublin Waterford line. The Station is an example of Jacobean Revival architecture. It comprises a two storey central block and two single storey wings. There are two platforms, a signal box and footbridge and the station also has offices and waiting areas. It is built of yellow brick with granite features particularly in the window dressings and drip moulds.

Carlow County Library

Railway station, Carlow 1

Carlow Railway Station was built in 1845 and was designed by Sir John MacNeill. It is located in Carlow Town, on the Dublin Waterford line. The Station is an example of Jacobean Revival architecture. It comprises a two storey central block and two single storey wings. There are two platforms, a signal box and footbridge and the station also has offices and waiting areas. It is built of yellow brick with granite features particularly in the window dressings and drip moulds.

Carlow County Library

and he greeted them warmly. He was anxious for both their spiritual and general welfare. He was moved by their "exemplary conduct" and reassured by their "healthy appearance and cheerful disposition". He addressed them briefly, wishing them well in their new life in Australia. He also added that they should be "deeply grateful" to the Guardians for their care and attention. According to the press the scene was both "solemn and imposing and left an edifying impression on all those present". The fear and anxiety of the young orphans was that day probably secondary to the importance of Victorian duty and propriety.

The Board of Guardians was satisfied that they had discharged their duty faithfully to the young emigrants. On arrival in Plymouth they were taken charge of by Lieutenant Henry, the Government Emigration Officer.

Later that year, on October 13th, 1849 the Poor Law Commissioners wrote to the Carlow Board of Guardians. They enclosed in their letter, an extract, which they had received from the Emigration Commissioners. This cited a communication from the Government Immigration Agent at Sydney. The "Lady Peel" had arrived at its destination on July 3rd. Among those who disembarked there were the twenty-two orphans from Carlow Union.


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