The Shame of Ireland

The Shame of Ireland

From the day I left Artane in October 1947 I've been running from my past. As I was known as Charlie from the being of my 'stay' in State custody from the age of two, it helped to learn on my release…

From the day I left Artane in October 1947 I've been running from my past. As I was known as Charlie from the being of my 'stay' in State custody from the age of two, it helped to learn on my release that my first name was in fact Patrick. It was therefore easy to forget about Charlie and leave him locked behind.

My race began in earnest when I fell in love with an eighteen year old clothing factory girl They started work at fourteen in those days. I had joined the RAF at the age of seventeen; just scraped in as a messing orderly, as I could just about read and write. With no home to go to on weekends off and leave periods I travelled the length and breath of the UK and stayed in bed and breakfast places, plus the YMCA. In those days there were signs a plenty of "No dogs or Irish allowed".

It was on one of those leave trips that I landed up in a small coal mining town in Co. Durham where I met the girl who became my wife. She came from a very materially poor family home of a two up two down terrace house. She had two brothers and two sisters. Her home contained a rich loving environment that no money could buy.

At first, she refused my proposal of marriage as she was too young, but then accepted me when she turned twenty. All I had to offer was a dream and with her love and inspiration I achieved what many would consider an impossible dream. There are so many things I've accomplished I now find it hard to believe I was capable of.

As if my earlier life had not been challenging enough, I was presented with much heartache to overcome along the way. Now that it's all over and I'm all alone, death can't come soon enough. Sorry I'll have to break off here as the pain has gotten too much. 

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Comment by Patrick Rice on April 22, 2014 at 15:06

It was during the period while I was caring for my wife in the late stages of Alzheimer's that my past came back to haunt me. The Commission to Inquire into Child was set up and I took a two day brake to attend the hearing.

Later I was made aware of the  formation of the Redress Board. It was impossible to attend as my wife was dying and I had refused any help with her care. The full story of that period of our lives is published mainly for the benefit of those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's. Because it is accepted that no one person can care for a loved one on their own, in their own home I chose to include aspects of my background in the Industrial School system. Because of that background it made me different to most people.

Now that I live alone I find myself attempting to come to terms of what I ran away from. I'm aware that I have brothers and sisters I've never met. There are also nephews and nieces, plus one brother who was adopted. He may, or may not be still alive.

As for my birth Mother's side, though she came from a large family I know nothing of them; the Doyle s. Strange, how no one bothered with me once I was sentenced to 14 yrs. It's as though I no longer existed. Anyway, here is the story for anyone who wishes to read it. It's easy to download just click on it. The first page or so is blank:

Comment by Patrick Rice on April 23, 2014 at 15:05

One of the saddest aspects of the whole sorry Irish social history, is that so many of the older generation could not tell their stories. Most could neither read or write properly and even if they could, they were ashamed of the stigma for having spent time in those Institutions. Worst of all no one would believe their stories. The more I learned of what went on in my own case, even I, find it hard to accept the sheer stupidity and ignorance of the people placed in charge of vulnerable children.

I suspect there are still few around that will remember a time when we used slates in class. That was in the 1930s, when we also went barefoot. When other kids died, it was no big deal. In spite of all the neglect and lack of nurture, nature served me well. There was much I learned from my years locked away. The most important lesson was: never to treat another human they way they treated me.

Just as I witnessed and experienced hunger and all forms of abuse I was not about to let the Religious Orders keep control of my life. Had I not spent 14 years in Industrial Schools it is doubtful that I would have achieved national honours at sport and been a high ranking boss with an International Co. and was able to retire in comfort at age 54!

The most rewarding period of my life was to care for my wife on my own when all the 'experts' told me it was impossible. I've spent my life trying to prove a sense of self worth, sadly I've never achieved that. Guess I'm back where I started a lone stray, living alone. In all my years I never made a friend, never learned to trust people and kept my secret until recent years. 

Comment by Patrick Rice on April 24, 2014 at 9:58

Can some one tell me the logic of my being sent to an Industrial School in Kilkenny, whilst an older sister (7 yrs) was retained in  Whitehall Industrial School Dublin?

Secondly different records state that on my release from Artane I was employed as a Page Boy, paid ten shillings a week? One record state it was The Russell Hotel, whilst another states it was the Western Hotel, are there two hotels of these names on the South Circular Road? I could find neither, maybe they no longer exist. Of course I was never employed in a hotel. Who would believe that a kid from Artane who worked on the farm and poultry farm would be accepted for employment in a hotel?

The following is a letter I've discovered was sent to my Father;

"Dear Mr. Rice, When the Mother Immaculate Heart consented to allow Margaret to go out on licence, it was on the understanding that we could revoke the licence at any time, as we are entitled to do and recall her to the school. Such a course we consider advisable now, as we have already informed you, and we are sorry that you have not complied with the request. It would be in the best interest of the child to give her the benefit of a good Catholic education and training, which is after all the greatest of importance. Our Divine Lord who is wisdom itself has warned that it will profit us nothing to gain the whole world, if we lose our souls. No doubt as you say Margaret is receiving a good education at a good school, but the Archbishop sternly forbids his flock to send their children to a non-Catholic School. We know that the voice of the Bishop is the voice of the Lord Himself for us, for he also told us that 'he who hears you 'meaning the Bishops and priests, hears Me.' In a recent letter Mother Immaculate Heart asked us to tell you that she hopes you bring Margaret back to school as you promised in the event of our recalling her. We shall expect to hear from you,

Yours faith fully,

Ann Jennings, Manager." That takes some believing. If it had been me would have replied; "I'm getting the flock out of there."

Comment by jack colleton on April 26, 2014 at 16:16

wow.  I am sure many people here or elsewhere can relate to something of your story Patrick!  it was not unusual for them to change id details in an effort to hide their bad deeds.

Comment by jack colleton on April 26, 2014 at 16:23

do you know the children's fold Patrick?

Comment by Margaret Thornton on April 26, 2014 at 18:22

Patrick, your are so brave to write your blog. I hope you are able to cope with all that is going on in your life. Keep Strong. Is there no one that could call on you and help you in any way!!

Comment by derek linster on April 27, 2014 at 8:22

Hi Patrick , a great story & you must keep your head up your road was & is very hard but you have do it well done  you there is not to many of us  that has come though this mess , we are all on your side & we all no it is not easy ,   Derek Linster

Comment by james moy on April 27, 2014 at 9:49

Patrick, as I said to you before, you are not alone, you have made many friends here and impressed us with your truthful accounts of your life, its ups and downs, its joys and sad experiences.

We can all identify in some ways with your experiences, and there are many questions unanswered , like why a Judge Mc Carthy  at the Dublin Children's Court  in 1955, would send me down to the backside of Co Cork to an Industrial School called St Patricks, Upton. At the age of 12.

One mile away from my home in Dun Laoghaire, was an Industrial School, called Carriglea,so being made to go all the way to Co Cork, made no sense at all, and presented much difficulty and expense  to my Mother when ever She made the long journey to visit me.

To this day, I am 71 now, but I can still hear the hob nailed boots of the Carraiglea lads as they were taken  out for there daily Sunday march  to the seaside of sea point near Monks town.  Although they were about a mile away, the noise was deafening from there hobnailed boots ! 

As for the good Catholic education and the so called good caring  and compassionate service of these Religious nutters, there was indeed plenty of passion , but it was performed by the paedophile element among their broods, and with the effects of living nightly and daily with all that, education was the last thing that would interest frightened Children.

I taught myself from the Dandy and the Beano, and the encouragement and example shown by my Mother, in doing crosswords and using dictionary's to further improve , what the Religious failed so badly to provide us with.

Stay Strong Patrick, we are all here for you, !



Comment by jack colleton on April 27, 2014 at 10:23

hello Jimmy.  far as I know it is indeed a human rights violation for a prisoner to be held in a place where loved one's would have much difficulty and expense visiting them. I did a quick search on Carriglea and it appears that it was "officially closed in 1954". those walks down and back along the pier were long!

Comment by jack colleton on April 27, 2014 at 10:32

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