The Shame of Ireland

The Shame of Ireland

Hi all,

Firstly thank you for accepting me into the community. 

I am a researcher in Design History and Material Culture in Ireland. At the moment I am working on a project looking at the leather straps that were used by Christian Brothers. We know that these were manufactured by leatherworkers in Dublin city centre, like O'Donoghues, as well as by the boys in industrial schools like Artane and Letterfrack. 

I have been in contact with the Christian Brothers archivist who confirmed (unsurprisingly) that they have no documentation relating to the straps whatsoever. I've also been in contact with the fantastic people in the Redress section of the Department of Education, they were very willing to help but were disappointed to find that they had no additional information about these straps outside of what is included in the Ryan report.

I would be interested in speaking to anyone who could tell me more about the manufacture of these straps. I understand that it is an extremely sensitive subject but I feel that it is an area with high cultural and historical importance that has been consistently overlooked by church & state.

Any response, input, advice or criticism is welcome.


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 Hi John Hogan here I will tell you all I know abouth  the leather straps . Glin Industrial School Co Limerick . The Straps that were used to beat us were maid in the Kobblers shop .Where the Hobnail boots were made . In Glin From 1954 to 19 60 .

I worked in the cobblers shop in Glin 1949-1951, we did not make straps or leathers, we stitched all leather boots by hand and the leather straps that they beat us with had to be stitched by a machine I would say. Seanie Morrison.

Thank you John 

The Website is fully Searchable Searching "Leather Straps" Bring up

Different keywords words may bring up more??

The leather straps used in Ferryhouse consisted of two pieces of cow hide stitched together with old Irish penny's in the Middletown extra pieces to make the handle to Stop the backlash. 

shared on twitter.

Hi William. That sounds like the leather strap they have on display in the Little Museum in Dublin too. It feels like it has a coin or key in the middle - horrible

I was interested to see your article on the shame of Ireland website with regard to the Irish Christian Bros and the leather straps they used, I will never forget them, most of them were black, in colour, and were approximately 16 to 18 inches in length, and about 2 inches to 2 1/2 inches in width, at the top of the leather belt it was shaped in such a way that it such a way that they could get their hand around the top of the belt, there was also a hole in the top of the belt which would have either a piece of string or lease attached to it so when using the belt they would put the strng or lease around the wrist for more effect, some of the belts were quite supple, and the was some suggestion that in some of the belts there was a lead piece going down the belt although you couldn't see it,

The belts were used very effectively, some of the Christian Bros would realise that slapping you in the palm of the hand wasn't really that effective, so they would make sure to slap you on the tips of your fingers to inflict more pain, the other area of the hand some of the evil Bastards used to try and get to the heel of the hand close to the Thumb. And of course your wrists I know this because I don't think there was a day that went by especially on school days that I wasn't treated to a session of six of the best, simply because I got my whole were wrong and the difficulty was that if I had two or three subjects and they were wrong I was beaten for all of the subjects on each occasion, I gave up on the end I hope I have been of some help to you
kind regards
John O'Brien
previous institution run by Christian Bros. St Vincent's glassnebin border from 1960 to 1966

Thank you for the very detailed response John!

I was 9years old, a member of the Artane band. I was taken into the band room, stripped and beaten savagely with a leather strap which had a piece of lead embedded in the top, to inflict maximum pain.Another material I was beaten with on numerous occasions is the famous tyre of a pram. It stays with you, it never goes away.James Penrose. 

Hello James.  No Justice = No Peace  And That Is For All Ireland!

Hi James. Sorry to have brought up painful memories for you. But thank you for your response. I had heard about the pram tyre too from Frank Crummey



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