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Photographer's Note

Pictured here is a part of a statue from a memorial stone in Christchurch Cathedral, Central Dublin.
It is a sculpture of a crying child, in this scene peering from a background of inky blackness.


I post today a rather somber image in line with a horrific revelation that has come to the publics attention in Ireland over the past few days.

In a small town called Tuam in Co Galway, there was a refuge for orphaned children of unwed mothers ran by the Bon Secours Sisters called St Mary's home. The nuns ran this home for decades and were paid by the Irish state to keep and assist those who resided there to become upstanding adults in the community.

The home was meant to be a place of safety for those who found themselves in these unfortunate circumstances. Young mothers who had children outside of wedlock were often shunned by the local community, as in the eyes of the church they were an abomination and the church wielded immense power in Ireland at that time. This led to many "refuges" begin set up across the country including the now notorious Magdelene Laundries which were little more than enforced slavery camps for single mothers. Most often these children from outside wedlock were not allowed to be baptized.

This particular refuge was for the children. It operated from 1926 to 1961, during which time Ireland had one of the worse infant mortality rates in Europe.

Previous revelations have already shown that in some such institutions, the nuns would give the children to wealthy American couples who were childless, in return for a "donation" to the establishment. This gave rise to people considering that these places were nothing more than human factories who operated to run a profit built on the tears of children. Those who were not well, or healthy, or well behaved....they were an expense and expenses had to be curtailed.

In 1975, human remains were found in an unmarked grave at this site. Locals believed the remains were those of famine victims, and the site was left untouched.

However, in recent days, further news had shown that the site is a mass grave of the bodies of 796 children who were dumped in a septic tank, unmarked and forgotten about for decades. The ages of these children is showing to be anywhere between 2 days old and 9 years old at time of death.

While religious institutions often held such malicious contempt for the children of unmarried mothers that unmarked graves in orphanages were not uncommon, this horrific find has began to show the scale of horror that went on within some of these places.


At the moment in Ireland, there is abject horror and utter disgust for those who could treat children in this way. Not only an unmarked grave, but a septic tank which was sealed in concrete when its grim use was finished. This is being considered now in Ireland to be one of the most horrific events to have ever occurred here. The full detail of what happened here will likely not be known for some time, but the public are screaming for a full investigation and for those who committed these acts be taken to task.

The church have made statements to say they support the erection of a permanent memorial but that they are not to blame. The state say they are considering what is coming to light and reports will determine their course of action. The police are considering this a crime scene. It is unknown fully how these children died, but first hand reports of victims of these places who survived told of "death rooms" where ill children would be left until they died, and then their bodies committed to this most vile of places. Others told of children rife with disease, starving and malnourished while the religious order claiming to care for them charged the Irish state for the expense of looking after their well being. The state were complicit in helping these places stay open, and by bringing new residents to them. Right now, nobody is accepting anything, but the outcry in Ireland at this most hideous discovery will have to lead to serious questions being asked. Some victims speak of having been threatened with being sent to the death room if they misbehaved, and that everybody knew what that meant.

There is a fear now that this may only be the tip of the iceberg, and that many more mass graves await discovery. Already there are dark whispers of places to be explored in Dublin, Cork, Monaghan, Belfast and more.

It is the subject of conversation all across the country today with people asking questions like, how could you dump a child in such a place, how could you know that a place like this existed and do nothing, how could you live with yourself knowing the utter horror of such a place?

Strangely, this story broke in the New York times. Irish media is remaining strangely quiet on the subject with it being little more than a byline as the 5th or 6th article, but online discussion does not rely on national media and this shows the extent of the revulsion of the public to this discovery.

Of course, a lot of what I write above is indeed dark whispers, evil shadows, second hand accounts and all of that must be verified and reported on and show to be true. no dount that will take years, maybe decades and has been shown in the past, those responsible will be long dead before we can know who was responsible.

What is known as fact is that bodies of almost 800 infants have been found in the most deplorable place imaginable.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing".

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2507 W: 12 N: 5951] (20698)
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