Various work was carried on ‘picking oakum’ was one. This involved unpicking old rope that had been protected by tarring and varnishing and extracting the good fibres, these fibres were then used by mixing them with tar and using the mixture for caulking or sealing the sides of ships.
Breaking stones for road building, pulverising lime for building materials, spinning flax and lace making were also undertaken.
Some worked carrying placards through the streets of Dublin imploring the public not to give alms but to donate to the Mendicity instead. Some were employed as carters to collect left over food from houses in the city to add to the pot