Hi Geraldine, The past is always with us, but I have never let it beat me. I've long since lost all interest in Ireland, it took away a family I might have had and left only roots. One thing it didn't fail to do was show me hate and evil, so when I experienced true love for the first time I appreciated it like few others.
Presently I've started writing my fourth book telling the story of how I cared for my wife when she suffered with Alzheimer's. So afraid of outsiders interfering in our lives I kept control of my life and cared for her on my own at home. When I sought advice I was told that it was impossible for one person to care alone, well I proved them wrong. There came the stage where she required a doctor when she became unconscious. I was advised not to sit holding her hand over-night as 'they' tend to pass away when one goes to the toilet or for a drink. She lived a further four years and eight months. During the 11-12 year Alzheimer's journey I recorded it in video and photos. In those years I learned more about the illness than the so called experts.
Vulnerable elderly people require love, compassion and dignity, just as we were denied in our our early years (not childhood: that was taken). I remain a social misfit to this very day.
Hi Jack, There must be some miss understanding. The photos I was referring to are those of Artane on this site. Two of the photos do not tell the true story of my time there: Feb 41 to Oct 1947. The dormitories did not have nice clean sheets and for sure the refectory did not have table cloths. Those pictures were either taken long after my time or were a dress-up for public consumption.
The only photos I posses I entered in my book are of life after Ireland, in addition to some of Artane and nuns at Killkenny, which my son retrieved from the internet. I've read the God Squad and Fear of the Collar as have a number of people I know. I'm sorry like me they fail to understand the raving reviews. It must be that they had good publicist and good connections. It has cost me a deal of money to publish 'Lonestray Survivor' but I'm happy to give it away free as I've no interest in the money. The story of the cheating, lying and blackmail they used, had to be put out in the public domain. I'd love to see the reaction from the Irish authorities if it is read in Ireland.
So far I've had two special responses: one from a lady in the UK. She wrote on one site: "It's an indication of a good book when the reader is so engrossed that they don't want to put it down, and read til 2 a. m. in one night. It has been a privilege to read an amazing life story." The other response was from Canada, the wife of her late husband: rewound author Eric Nichol. She referred me to Google; 'Through A Mirror Darkly". It was a surprise to discover a review of my book by a Chris Rice, a nephew I've never met or likely to! It is possible to download the book for a little over £2.
The worse affected children from those Institutions were those who understood they had family and had bonded before they were put away. As for the ones I refer to in my book as the 'Nobodies' we knew no different life and were left emotionally barren.
hello Patrick.when i referred to my reply message i mean after i received your first message to me after we became friends here! i will find the Artane photos and comment soon as i see them! i know that in children 'homes' the children sometimes were dressed up after scrubbing the place down for "visitors". like what happens when the 'queen' visits places! yes i am very aware of the lack of photos of me as a child. photos are evidence! the internet is a powerfull medium and tool!
Jack, I'm sorry I've not got back before now, but I've not been feeling too well. With regards to the Doyle family, I've found out very little about them other than that recorded in the 1911 Census. The family lived at 122 Cork Street (Merchant's Quay) Hugh the father was a Bricklayer and the eldest son Hugh: then 21 was also a bricklayer.
Margaret was 18 and her occupation was - Laundress. Daniel was 15 and still at school. My birth mother was then 11 yrs old. Considering there were a total of 7 children; three girls and four boys I fail to understand how a whole family could cut off all contact with their youngest daughter, just because she 'had to get married'. When one takes into consideration my birth mother had two sons die; one at two and half, the other eight months old in a period of two weeks.
It appears to me there was a complete lack of compassion and love in Irish society. It may appear strange to many that each time I think of the facts in my book I find them very though provoking. Many may think that my birth mother was a very bad mother, but given the period and the mind-set of the Church/State to its people, it is not surprising she did as she did. There was no support or guidance for parents and the children were punished for the parent's shortcomings.
With reference to the Children's Fold, that was a Protestant charitable organisation to which my birth mother took her last child to. She signed over the boy Noel Denis Rice when he was three and a half years old to the care and maintenance of the Children's Fold. In addition she gave consent to his being brought up in the principles of the Church of Ireland.
Noel had already been Baptised at birth in the Parish of Navan Rd. at St Brigid Catholic Church. Later he was adopted by a Mr and Mrs Hughes of Fairview in Dublin.
I leave people to reach their own conclusions on many aspects of my story. One thing is for sure; when readers tell me they could almost smell the stench of Artane and felt they were there, it should bring memories flooding back for those who were unlucky to have been there.
Living alone as a widower allows for time to reflect on my Irish background. There's so little I know of Ireland after all these years, except that there are no doubt many unknown relatives living there. The father I was denied access to is buried in Dublin. Until recently I was unaware that he had spent years fighting to gain custody of me. It would be nice to visit his grave before I die, but I know that's not going to happen.
There must be many survivors who like me are left wondering the answers to the question: What's it like:
To grow up and enter the front door of a house you call home and maybe have your own bedroom?
To utter the words: hi Mum, hi Dad?
To know when it's your birthday and be greeted with; "Happy birthday"? Also receive cards and presents.
To spend Christmas with a family and experience the excitement of opening presents and cards?
To attend school daily without fear in the company of other boys and GIRLS! then to go home after school?
To welcome an embrace by family members and to not back away in fear?
To these and many other questions I'll never know the answers.
Incarcerated as child from the age of two to sixteen, is it therefore any wonder that I dare not openly ask such strange questions? It was due to the fear of showing the end product of the Irish Church/State system: 'A social misfit'.
I do not post much nowadays because I'm still recovering from the cancer surgery. However there are many questions I'd like some answers to. Many decades have passed and I've avoided even thinking of my past as it just tends to upset me.
When I left Artane in Oct 1947 the records state that I went to work as a Page Boy at the Russell Hotel in the South Circular Road for ten shillings a week. I'd never been inside any hotel. Imagine employing a boy who had been locked away from the outside world from the age of two, a boy who had been employed on the farm and poultry farm. It them states that I left the job because the work was too hard!
Another document states that I worked at the Western Hotel on the South Circular Road. I can't find either hotel. Can anyone tell me if either exist? Next question: why would the nuns record that I was illegitimate when it was no so? In addition neither the nuns nor the brothers ever addressed me by my correct first name. This will do for now, thank you.
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Sorry to not have visited the site for such along time. After all this time I'm still having trouble living without a stomach. I'm been attempting to learn to survive after the major surgery by joining a website for others who went under the same operation. Much of my time is also taken up with helping others that are caring for a love one suffering with Alzheimer's. Like almost everything in my life I've learned on my own and in my own way. Had it not been for my early life in the Industrial Schools of Ireland, being denied family life,a home or country, there is little doubt I would not have been capable of caring for my wife on my own, in our own home, 24/7 year on year till her passing. I've never asked for help or support and learned to value control of my life and my independence.
I'll be 84 tomorrow and as I live alone there is no way I could attend a meeting in London. It's bad enough being offered to attend a meeting in Gloucester for survivors of stomach cancer. No though is given to people of my age and condition.