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In 1782,

a remarkable man was born in what is now Northern Ireland. His name was Charles Sheils.

The Charles Sheils Charity is his legacy.

Charles’ vision was to provide homes for those who really needed them, and we are the caretakers of that vision. He created almshouses at five locations across Ireland to provide for those who had fallen on hard times.

The buildings are beautiful and architecturally significant, but even more compelling is the altruistic generosity of spirit and the stories of the lives that have been touched along the way.

Learn more about our history, and how we can help.


Wishing to rescue a few of the thousands of destitute persons scattered over almost all the towns and villages in Ireland, I propose building almshouses as far as the balance of my property will extend.

Charles Sheils
6th February, 1846

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Living in a legacy

Thousands of people have passed through doors of the Sheils houses over the past century and a half.

Charles’ original vision of a place of provision and community for those who had fallen on hard times has been honoured and preserved. The world has of course changed dramatically in those many years and the charity has had to meet that challenge. Whereas in the early years, the houses were the home primarily of widows and their young children, in modern times there are now families and younger couples.

The Charity

The Charles Sheils Charity is easily the largest “almshouse” charity in Ireland, and one of the largest in the U.K.

It is entirely self governing under the special legislation which set it up in the nineteenth century.

Architectural Heritage

Architecturally speaking, each of the locations of the Sheils is a quaint hidden treasure. 

The Man

Charles Sheils was a remarkable individual who in many ways was  ahead of his time.

Featured News

Appointment of Superintendent – Charles Sheils Complex, Killough, Co Down

The Charles Sheils Charity is the largest Almshouse charity in Ireland and one of the largest in the UK. We provide...

Charles Sheils Plaque unveiled

At  the grave of Charles Sheils in Killough a commemorative plaque has been unveiled after an £8000 refurbishment...

Works at Sheils Killough

Work is progressing apace in Killough with houses being completed and brought to modern standards, roofing...