Tags: orphanage | mass | grave | ireland

Orphanage Mass Grave in Ireland May Contain 796 Bodies of Babies

By    |   Thursday, 05 Jun 2014 12:09 PM

A home for unwed mothers and their children in Ireland was discovered by researchers to have a mass grave for 796 babies that died in its squalor during its 35 years of operation that ended in 1961. The Catholic Church in Ireland, which ran "The Home," is now facing fresh allegations of child neglect.

Local historian Catherine Corless discovered the bones of mostly infants and toddlers in the septic tank of the home in Tuam, County Galway. After comparing them to the home's death records, she concluded that the vast majority, if not all, of the children who died in the home were put in the unmarked grave, The Associated Press reported.

According to The AP, "It is well documented that throughout Ireland in the first half of the 20th century, church-run orphanages and workhouses often buried their dead in unmarked graves and unconsecrated ground, reflecting how unmarried mothers — derided as 'fallen women' in the culture of the day — typically were ostracized by society, even their own families."

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The homes were usually run by nuns, and Corless and other elderly locals have often say that the children were separated from other pupils at school until they were adopted around age 7 or 8. If not adopted, they often went to church-run workhouses rife with abuse. Because illegitimate children were often denied the sacrament of baptism, they were also denied a Christian burial and grave markings.

Corless remembers going to school with some of the Home Babies. "[I]f you acted up in class some nuns would threaten to seat you next to the Home Babies. That was the message we got in our young years," she said, according to Irish Central.

She remembers wrapping a stone in a candy wrapper, and giving it to one of the girls from the home.

"Years after, I asked myself what did I do to that poor little girl that never saw a sweet? That has stuck with me all my life. A part of me wants to make up to them."

Corless approached church leaders in Galway about the matter, and they said they had no idea the amount of death that took place at The Home. Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary agreed to support her fundraising campaign to mark the site with a plaque featuring all 796 names.

The Irish government declined to comment on the latest story about the network of such homes, noting that it has already published the results of several investigations regarding them. The last such home closed in the 1990's.

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A home for unwed mothers and their children in Ireland was discovered by researchers to have a mass grave for 796 babies that died in its squalor during its 35 years of operation that ended in 1961.
orphanage, mass, grave, ireland
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2014-09-05
Thursday, 05 Jun 2014 12:09 PM
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