Banished Babies: The Secret History of Ireland’s Baby Export Business

Since this story broke in 1996, the Irish media have been chasing down details of the “export” –primarily to the U.S.–of 2,000-plus infants and toddlers born to unmarried Irish mothers between the late ’40s and the mid-’70s. Reporter Milotte did a TV documentary on the subject; his book incorporates new archival material released by the Irish government and the Catholic Church, as well as three involving case studies of efforts by adoptees or the mothers who reluctantly gave them up to get back together.

At mid-century, both church and state in Ireland stressed shame, secrecy, and the religion of adoptive parents over all other considerations; only in the mid-’50s did Eire require confirmation that proposed parents could provide a healthy (as well as a Catholic) home for Irish kids, and several money-based schemes slipped through the Republic’s lax rules. An enlightening international sidebar to studies of the consequences of open versus closed adoption.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2011
Thanks to V, this story has just come to my attention. . . ~J

According to Ireland´s Ryan Report approximately 30,000 children were tortured and abused while in catholic religion run Industrial Schools. This report only investigated the abuses committed against children by priest and nuns of approximately 10% of the religious institutions all over Ireland without including Mental Institutions and Magdalene Laundries. We present the names of some of these hellholes listed on the Residential Institutions Redress Act, 2002:

  • An Griana´n Training Centre, Grace Park Road, Dublin 9
  • Artane Industrial School for Senior Boys, Dublin 5
  • Baltimore Fishery School for Senior Boys, Baltimore, Co. Cork
  • Benada Abbey Industrial School for Girls, Ballymote, Co. Sligo
  • Carriglea Park Industrial School for Senior Boys, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Cottage Home, Tivoli Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Don Bosco House, Gardiner Street, Dublin 1
  • Family Group Home, Geevagh, Co. Sligo
  • Family Group Home, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
  • Family Group Home, Wexford
  • Kirwan House, Ranelagh, Dublin 6
  • Madonna House, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
  • Madonna House, Merrion Road, Dublin 4
  • Martanna House Hostel, Grace Park Road, Dublin 9
  • Miss Carr’s Children’s Home, 5 Northbrook Road, Dublin 6
  • Mount Carmel Industrial School for Girls, Moate, Co. Westmeath
  • Nazareth House, Sligo
  • Orphanage Schools, Convent of Mercy, Kells, Co. Meath
  • Our Boy’s Home, 95 Monkstown Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Our Lady of Mercy Industrial School for Girls, Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Our Lady of Succour Industrial School, Newtownforbes, Co. Longford
  • Our Lady’s Industrial School for Girls, Ennis, Co. Clare
  • Pembrook Alms (Nazareth House) Industrial School for Girls,Tralee, Co. Kerry
  • CPI Marino Special School, Bray, Co. Wicklow
  • Cork University Hospital School
  • Harcourt Street Hospital, Dublin 2
  • Holy Family School for Moderate Learning Disability, Charleville, Co. Cork
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel, Lota, Glanmire, Co. Cork
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, Dublin 12
  • Sacred Heart Home, Drumcondra, Dublin 9
  • School of the Divine Child, Lavanagh, Ballintemple, Cork
  • School of the Holy Spirit, Seville Lodge, Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny
  • Scoil Ard Mhuire, Lusk, Co Dublin
  • Scoil Eanna, School of the Angels, Montenotte, Cork
  • Scoil Triest, Lota, Glanmire, Co. Cork
  • St. Martin’s Orphanage, Waterford
  • St. Clare’s Orphanage, Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6
  • St. David’s, Lota, Glanmire, Co. Cork
  • St. Gabriel’s School, Curraheen Road, Cork
  • St. Joseph’s Orphanage, Tivoli Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • St. Joseph’s Orphanage, Bundoran, Co. Donegal
  • St. Joseph’s Orthapaedic Hospital for Children, Coole, Co.Westmeath
  • St. Joseph’s School for the Visually Impaired, Drumcondra, Dublin 9
  • St. Kevin’s Reformatory, Glencree, Co. Wicklow
  • St. Martha’s Industrial School, Monaghan
  • St. Martha’s Industrial School, Merrion, Dublin 4
  • St. Mary’s Orthopaedic Hospital, Baldoyle, Dublin 13
  • St. Mary’s Orthopaedic Hospital, Cappagh, Dublin 11
  • St. Mary’s School for Visually Impaired Girls, Merrion, Dublin
  • St. Vincent’s Centre for Persons with Intellectual Disability, Lisnagry, Limerick
  • St. Vincent’s Orphanage, North William St, Dublin 9
  • St. Aidan’s Industrial School for Girls, Newross, Co. Wexford
  • St. Aloysius’ Industrial School for Girls, Clonakilty, Co. Cork 25
  • St. Ann’s Industrial School for Girls and Junior Boys, Renmore, Lenaboy, Co. Galway
  • St. Anne’s Industrial School for Girls, Booterstown, Co. Dublin
  • St. Anne’s Reformatory School for Girls, Kilmacud, Co. Dublin
  • St. Anne’s, Sean Ross Abbey, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary
  • St. Augustine’s Industrial School for Girls, Templemore, Co.Tipperary
  • St. Augustine’s, Obelisk Park, Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
  • St. Bernadette’s, Bonnington, Montenotte, Cork
  • St. Bernard’s Industrial School for Girls, Fethard, Dundrum, Co. Tipperary
  • St. Bridgid’s Industrial School for Girls, Loughrea, Co. Galway
  • St. Cecilia’s, Cregg House, Sligo
  • St. Clare’s Orphanage, Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6
  • St. Coleman’s Industrial School for Girls, Cobh/Rushbrook, Co. Cork
  • St. Columba’s Industrial School for Girls, Westport, Co. Mayo
  • St. Conleth’s Reformatory School for Boys, Daingean, Co. Offaly
  • St. Dominick’s Industrial School for Girls, Waterford
  • St. Finbarr’s Industrial School for Girls, Sundays Well, Marymount, Cork
  • St. Francis Xavier’s Industrial School for Girls and Junior Boys, Ballaghadereen, Co Roscommon
  • St. Francis’ & St Mary of the Angels, Beaufort, Killarney, Co. Kerry
  • St. Francis’ Industrial School for Girls, Cashel, Co. Tipperary
  • St. George’s Industrial School for Girls, Limerick
  • St. John’s Industrial School for Girls, Birr, Co. Offaly
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Boys, Passage West, Co. Cork
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Boys, Tralee, Co. Kerry
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Girls and Junior Boys, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Girls and Junior Boys, Clifden, Co. Galway
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Girls and Junior Boys, Liosomoine, Killarney, Co. Kerry
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Girls, Cavan
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Girls, Dundalk, Co. Louth
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Girls, Kilkenny
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Girls, Mallow, Co. Cork
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Girls, Summerhill, Athlone, Co. Westmeath
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Girls, Whitehall, Drumcondra, Dublin 9
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Senior Boys, Ferryhouse, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Senior Boys, Glin, Co. Limerick
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Senior Boys, Greenmount, Cork
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Senior Boys, Letterfrack, Co. Galway
  • St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Senior Boys, Salthill, Co. Galway
  • St. Joseph’s Orphanage, Tivoli Road, Dun Laoghaire
  • St. Joseph’s Reformatory School for Girls, Limerick
  • St. Joseph’s School for Hearing Impaired Boys, Cabra, Dublin 7
  • St. Joseph’s School for the Visually Handicapped, Drumcondra, Dublin 9
  • St. Kyran’s Industrial School for Junior Boys, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow
  • St. Laurence’s Industrial School for Girls, Sligo
  • St. Laurence’s Industrial School, Finglas, Dublin 11
  • St. Martha’s Industrial School for Girls, Bundoran, Co. Donegal
  • St. Mary’s Industrial School, Lakelands, Sandymount, Dublin 4
  • St. Mary’s Orthopaedic Hospital, Baldoyle, Dublin 13
  • St. Mary’s Orthopaedic Hospital, Cappagh, Finglas, Dublin 11 Sch.
  • St. Mary’s School for Hearing Impaired Girls, Cabra, Dublin 7
  • St. Mary’s, Delvin, Co. Westmeath
  • St. Mary’s, Drumcar, Dunleer, Co. Louth
  • St. Mary’s, Rochestown, Cork
  • St. Michael’s Industrial School for Girls, Wexford
  • St. Michael’s Industrial School for Junior boys, Cappoquin, Co.Waterford
  • St. Michael’s, Glenmaroon, Chapelizod, Dublin 20
  • St. Mura’s Orphanage, Fahan, Co. Donegal
  • St. Patrick’s Industrial School for Boys, Upton, Cork
  • St. Patrick’s Industrial School for Junior Boys, Kilkenny
  • St. Paul’s Hospital, Beaumont, Dublin 9
  • St. Paul’s, Montenotte, Cork
  • St. Saviour’s Orphanage, Lr. Dominick Street, Dublin 1
  • St. Vincent’s (House of Charity) Industrial School for Junior Boys, Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • St. Vincent’s Industrial School for Girls, Limerick
  • St. Vincent’s Industrial School, Goldenbridge, Inchicore, Dublin 8
  • St. Vincent’s Orphanage, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
  • St. Vincent’s, Navan Road, Dublin 7
  • Stewart’s Hospital, Palmerstown, Dublin 20
  • Tabor House, Dublin
  • Temple Street Hospital, Dublin 1
  • The Bird’s Nest Home, 19 York Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • The Los Angeles Homes, Dublin
  • The O’Brien Institute, Malahide Road, Dublin
  • Trudder House, Newtownmountkennedy, Co. Wicklow
  • Warrenstown House, Corduff Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15
Posted by Banished Babies at 9:35 PM
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36 Responses to Banished Babies: The Secret History of Ireland’s Baby Export Business

  1. Sally Bird says:

    Dear Jean
    I am English, (although my DNA says 45% Irish and only 26% British) and I can’t claim toe even begin understand the problems regarding the abuse of children in institutions in Ireland, but I’m trying. I have read Suffer Little Children by Eoin O’Sullivan and Mary Rafferty and also Empty Craddles by Margaret Humphreys, both making disturbing reading, but again only mentioning Catholic abuse and not Protestant. Let me just say by the way, that I am neither, although I do believe in God, but have moved away from organised religion.
    I have great empathy for all the Catholic children that have suffered and I am not interested in the religious divide, but knowing that my own dearly, departed mother suffered beatings, starvation and what would now be considered exploitative, child labour in almost a militry style, I find it quite astonishing that there is little reporting of Protestant abuse in the same way. I know that from your list, some of those institutions were Protestant. I also know that many of the people whom resided there, have claimed compensation from the Redress Board, although strangely say that they were ‘the good times’. Have they all been brainwashed into thinking that treating children as skivvies and ‘whipping boys’, is acceptable because it was just the way society was, seventy odd years ago? Or was it because they are afraid to speak out? If so Why? They were obviously not afraid to tell the Redress Board of what they suffered with the aid of solicitors. So what has happened? I know that the saga is still on going and the state and many church based institutions are still ping-longing the blame on each other, with several, particularly Protestant ones not wanting to contribute to the Redress money pot. I find this not only bizarre but also deeply unfair. There are many, many people out there who have been severely damaged by the atrocities that have affected them as adults. My own mother had a self destruct button, and although had a great tenacity to survive, suffered much ill health, particularly menta,l during her life. I think it is about time that the Irish Government woke up to the fact that they cannot sweep this issue under the carpet and it will not go away until they make proper amends to all who were allowed to suffer because of their negligence.

    • Jean says:

      Thank you, Sally, for your response. There is much I could say, but I have suffered attacks from these people, who under any circumstances do not want the truth known. When things change as I anticipate they will, I hope to have my blog up and running again, and perhaps at that time I can speak more freely. The truth is coming out, Sally, and it can no longer be stopped 🙂 Hugs, ~Jean

  2. Sally Bird says:

    Could someone tell me why it is only the Catholic institutions that you hear about, where abuse happened?
    My mother was brought up in Kirwan House Orphanage, on the North Circular Road, Dublin and endured a very harsh life. I have spoken to some others who were there at the same time as her in the 1940’s, and although they agreed the life and treatment was hard, they seem to be in denial about the place. Does this mean that Protestant orphanages had it good? Why do people in Ireland want to defend such places that treated them cruelly? I have read at least 6 misery memoir books now on the systematic abuse suffered in countless Catholic industrial schools, orphanages and Magdalene Laundries. Stories of such sadistic brutality that you would think you were reading the most horrendous horror stories. Why then are there none written about the Protestants?
    If there is anyone out there that knows the answer, please let me know.

    • Jean says:

      Sally, the answer is readily available on the internet. The Catholic Church is not what it professes to be . . . but the times are very tough, and we cannot speak freely, like it or not. My blog has information, and because I don’t know how much you are aware . . . well, it’s very, very tough to deal with, so prepare yourself. Good people find it impossible to believe, but we are learning that it is quite true.

      Hugs,
      ~Jean

  3. Kelly Christopher-Hellerman says:

    Would anyone be able to help me find information on my grandmother, please? She was admitted to St. Michael’s industrial school for girls in Wexford in 1901. She was not an orphan but there is NO information about her mother. Have written to Dublin and am having no luck.

  4. John J. Fischer says:

    Looking for my biological mother, father and possibly sister of Aubrey Mary Harney (Not sure of spelling) Born August 15, 1959 In Donnybrook suburb of Dublin? Adopted from Saint Joseph Orphanage as an infant and became a US citizen. Seeking any information regarding my biological parents and any living relatives. Thank You every so much

  5. I suggest that the ‘UK Child Sex Abuse People’s Tribunal’ [video below] is in response to way showers unmasking extreme assault on children world-wide that can no longer be hidden, denied, and allowed to continue.

    Authority figures addressing the child abuse endemic will likely raise public attention far more, than if addressed by consciously aware way showers. http://vimeo.com/113867648

    May 2015 bring justice through reconciliation and healing, rather than retribution http://www.wakingtimes.com/2012/05/02/our-justice-system-requires-us-to-punish-wrongdoers-what-if-there-were-a-better-way

  6. MJ says:

    Hi there,
    I am about to send a FOI request to gain my late mothers full record of her time in a roscommon industrial school, she was there most of her early childhood. I believe from initial research it was either: St. Francis Xavier’s Industrial School for Girls and Junior Boys in Ballaghaderreen
    or
    St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Girls, Summerhill, Athlone, was run by the Sisters of Mercy…can anyone shed any ligth on either of these or confirm were there any others in Roscommon during 1945-1950’s?

    • Michael says:

      Hi,
      The Summerhill orphanage is now a secondary school. If you look up the 1901 census you will see a list of the residents. When searching enter crannagh as this is the townland

      • mj says:

        Thanks! I have sent the order that ran it a request for info…..i will check census you mention but my mother would have been there around 1950’s…

        • MJ says:

          Anyone else have any memories of this establishment? good or bad…..St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Girls, Summerhill, Athlone

  7. Anne says:

    I’m trying to get hold of records from st Anne’s reform school upper kilmacud rd stillorgan, and can’t, I was there in 1982 to 1986 and sent to donnybrook laundry (magdlen) to stay and work as punishment for running away from st Anne’s, I can’t get records of this , tried the nuns, the health board and so on, chasing my tail with this, anyone have any suggestions please?

  8. Norris says:

    Does anyone know if the industrial school for girls in Cashel was also for unmarried mothers , approx nineteen twenties to mid thirties . If so what religious order was in charge ?
    Thank you

    • Jean says:

      I’ll put your question out there, Norris . . . don’t know what may come back 🙂 Hugs, ~Jean

    • Ann says:

      I also would like to know about this Cashel home . Ido believe it was for unmarried mothers .
      I am interested in the years 1915 to 1926 approx
      Is there some way of accessing lists of names for that time ?
      Thanks
      Ann

    • Anita says:

      I am fairly sure Cashel was also for unmarried mothers.
      Have recently discovered my mother was there sometime between 1915 and 1925 approx .
      I telephoned twice , but no one could help . Does anyone know where the records for those years could be found ?

      • marylou says:

        Department of education

      • Ann Murphy says:

        I have recently discovered my mother gave birth to a baby girl on 31st of May 1927 in Cashel in a home which is now St Patrick’s hospital ( I think geriatric now .)
        If she is still alive my sister Mary Renehan will be 90 this year . Time is running out , perhaps she married & has a family who might recognise the birth date , because of course her name would or could be changed.
        If Mary had a family we are very anxious to hear from them .
        Hoping someone can help .
        Ann

  9. Caroline says:

    Does anyone know of a mother and baby home
    called the Birds Nest that I’m led to believe was in Dublin between 1915 and 1925. Thanks.

    • Maria fulford says:

      I know of birds nest. Boys home in dublin but it would have being in the 50s and 60 s we. Would see them every Sunday going to mass in pearse street not Catholic Church cannot remember the name of the church. Poor little boys marching like soliders would look straight ahead hard booths on them and overcoats. As kids we would be told about the. Birds nest school it was. Not nuns. Who run it was brothers I can still see then marching

    • John says:

      Hello Caroline. The Bird’s Nest Was A Smyly Run Children’s Home In Dunlaoire. It Was Not A Mother And Baby Home! The Bird’s Nest Closed In The 1970’s. The Protestant Smyly Organisation Has Two Homes Left In Ireland.

  10. Sheila Crowley says:

    Read your article and wish to make a comment on the list you have published. St Francis and St Mary of the Angels should not be on this list. The foundation stone was laid in 1965 when the Doyle family gave their farm to the order. It was never a mother and baby home.

    • Jean says:

      Shiela, you really need to get this info to the author of this article. I’m guessing you may live in Ireland. Can you research and email the author? I think your words are largely lost ere. . . Thanks and hugs, ~Jean

  11. Ciara Culkin says:

    I wanted to find out where my birth mother stayed when i was born. Her name was Theresa Lynch. I was born in Sligo General Hospital in 1978. Named Kathleen Lynch. No father. She would have stayed in on of the homes.

  12. annabella ann says:

    I was brought up in the Sacred Heart home at 40 Drumcondra. My brothers were brought up with the ‘brothers’ which I always thought was next door to the Sacred Heart. I thought it was called st.Vicents but I don’t know if this is true? Does anyone know?

    • Jean says:

      I can’t help you, Annabella, but perhaps someone else can, or perhaps a reader can suggest somewhere else you can get info. Hugs, ~Jean

    • Rita lowe says:

      St. Vincent’s Christian brothers school old finglas road glasnevin Dublin 9 was for boys the boarding school closed many years ago. It is now . Dalcassian. Downs private housing estate. St. Vincent’s primary and. Secondary school are still there today you should try and see if they still have the old records. Good luck.

    • trish says:

      annabella. Tell me where you went to secondary school and what years. trish

    • Annmarie says:

      Annabella I was also brought up in the S.H.H Drumcondra. I was there from 1975 till 1988.

      • annabella says:

        I left ireland so did not attend secondary school in Ireland. I was in the Sacret Heart in the 50’s

        • Ann Murphy says:

          The girls from the Sacred Heart Höme went to St Francis Xavier’s school in Dorset street . I attended that school until 1954/55.
          My name was Ann Murphy . I was friends at different times over the years with Mary Mannion , Lily Hayden & before we left school with Maureen Doran. These three girls were in the S H H

    • Patti Harberg says:

      My Grandmother was raised in Sacred Heart Home until she was 18 years old. Could you tell me what years you were living there? Her name was Mary Josephine Godfrey.

  13. Babies: The Secret History of Ireland’s Baby Export Business:

    Everyone in Eire was aware, sadly. As girls we were threatened daily with being sent away to the Maggies and never be allowed home. Its how our parents kept us under control for the Roman church. Nothing much has changed either. The mentality is still the same re women who are not contracted to a man in marriage. The courts still train judges etc to see all irish mothers as feeble minded, unable to make decisions for themselves. Women and children are pigeon holed as one and patriarchs make decisions “in their best interests of course”.It was all about control and money- nothing more than legalised human trafficking. Irish have been trafficked since 1172 when Pope Adrian 1V gave the land of Eire and all her people as slaves to King Henry 11 to keep us under control because we were deemed too spiritual and the women were equal to the men, so could not have that…got to keep them women in their place as one male judge announced in 1995
    The denial and cognitive dissonance is nauseating to say the least. The Minister makes excuses like the mothers do not want their children/creations to find them. That is a great way of making sure the legalised child trafficking business never comes to light.
    It is now time to purge Eire of all her dark secrets and so it is done.

    • Monica Mc Namara says:

      Quite right to call it child trafficking,so shameful,so shocking.Poor women how they suffered ,and their children stolen from their arms.

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