Over the past 20 years Virginia has grown from a village, with a population of just 811 in 1996, into one of County Cavan’s larger towns with a population of 2,648 in April 2016.

A recent post on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CavanVirginia/

The Famine Hospital
Virginia Co. Cavan

I pass by this building, the Famine Hospital every day, and over the last ten years it has gone into decline, the ivy is removing the slates and somebody has broken the windows and it’s front door is left open. This building is at the crossroads on the Cavan side of Virginia town Co. Cavan. I‘m just a blowin here, but I feel it is a shame to allow this building to diminish in such a way, I think this is a missed opportunity for Virginia and Cavan. This building could be restored and set out as it looked in the1840s, a Diaspora/Famine Museum perhaps, containing accounts of Cavan people’s stories of the famine and evictions.The people that left Ireland hungry and in despair and set out on a journey to foreign lands, in the hope of finding a new life for themselves and their families, accounts of what they faced and how they survived the six week journey on the coffin ships to America, Canada etc, then what happened when they landed. I am sure there are local historians in this area who could put this together. I feel it would draw in the Genealogy/History tourists. Even if you disagree with me on the museum idea, surely at the very least, we should be saving the Famine Hospital, preserving the building before it’s too late.
Please post your opinions.”

This post attracted a lot of comments that led me to wonder how much do our new and not so new residents know about the history of Virginia. I started looking for information online about the Fever Hospital, I couldn’t find anything worthwhile. I heard Sheila Courtney, a local historian talk about the Fever Hospital at a number of Heritage events. I was aware Sheila contributed to “Virginia a Portrait Celebrating 400 years 1612 – 2012” Today in the snow I decided to read Chapter Two again, “Virginia in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries” by Sheila Courtney. This book is available in Fitzsimons and Supervalu, could be available other places too. It is a fantastic read,.Virginia has a colourful history. If you are interested in the history of Virginia get the book, the Fever Hospital is mentioned and put into context of its time in history. The rest of the book is also very interesting. Virginia reinvented itself many times down the years.

Chapter 4: “Virginia in the Twenty First Century” is work in progress. It is up to the current residents of Virginia to shape this chapter.

Share This