Hurricane Irene August 28th 2011

Power outages in CT  reached almost 600,000, leaving 53% of the State without electricity according to Connecticut Light and Power on Monday, August 29th.

Hurricane Irene hit CT on August 28  2011. Although downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, the mix of high tides and a full moon caused the storm surge to raise water levels above three feet of what the state considered safe.

Snow plows cleaned debris off roads in an attempt to make driving safe.

A state employee who wished to remain anonymous said that he had been working since ten o’clock Saturday morning and was operating on three hours sleep by four pm Sunday.

Driving a snow plow truck to remove debris from roads is “safe,” the state employee said and added when sparks are seen due to the plow hitting the surface of the road,” it is still safe. The same thing happens in winter,” he said.

When asked about operating a large truck while sleep deprived the state employee said,
“Our governor says it’s so easy a monkey could do it!” The employee had slept for three hours on a cot bed.

Tennis courts became skim boarders’ havens at Weed beach tennis courts in Darien, CT.

Darien residents of the weed beach area waded through almost six inches of water on Sunday.

Debris in driveways at the cove in Stamford marked the tide levels which peaked at 11am on Sunday. Residents begin the massive clean-up.

On an impassable road heading toward Weston, CT, an ambulance turned around to find an alternate route to it’s destination. It turned again into the direction blocked off by police tape, the only access to the required destination.

21 people died in this storm.

Portumna Workhouse August 2009

Constructed between 1850 and 1852, the workhouse in Portumna was designed by the Poor Law Commissions Architect, George Wilkinson.

The plaque on the wall at the start of the video clip is actually a misnomer. No one from the famine ever died at Portumna workhouse. The workhouse construction began when the famine mortality rate was at its’ height. By the time construction was completed in 1852, socially the country was dealing with poverty as an aftermath of the famine and population levels had dropped as a result of assisted immigration and death.

The raised platforms on either side are where the inmates of this workhouse would sleep. These are the original floors, doors and the original ceiling.

Life in the workhouse was so unappealing to the Irish that they often preferred going to jail than going into the workhouse. Therefore purposefully committing a crime with the intent of being sent to jail was a common event.

Inmates or paupers would have to rise when the bell rang, dress themselves in workhouse donated clothing, after they had washed in cold water and then stand before the matron to be fully inspected.

Women slept in one portion of the building and men in the men’s block and children in a separate block. A dividing wall in the exercise yard insured that the men and women never saw each other again upon entry into the workhouse.

Children three years old and under were permitted to stay with their mother. Mother’s had to request special permission to visit with their children, all visits being supervised.

As soon as a pauper was admitted, his name and religious persuasion was entered in the register, and he was then placed in the probationary ward, or in some room to be “exclusively appropriated for the purpose,” and was then examined by the medical officer of the workhouse.

“All the paupers in the workhouse, except those disabled by sickness or infirmity, persons of unsound mind, and children, shall rise, be set to work, leave off work, and go to bed at such times, and shall be allowed such intervals for their meals as the Board of Guardians shall, by any regulation approved by the Poor Law Commissioners, direct; and these several times shall be notified by the ringing of a bell.” Workhouse Rules

Courtesy of  Peter Higginbotham / workhouses.org.uK