The Shame of Ireland

The Shame of Ireland

In the early hours of a February morning in 1943 fire broke out in the basement laundry of St. Joseph's Orphanage & Industrial School run by the enclosed ord...

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Comment by jack colleton on January 17, 2012 at 23:33

In the early hours of a February morning in 1943 fire broke out in the basement laundry of St. Joseph's Orphanage & Industrial School run by the enclosed order of Poor Clare nuns in Main St., Cavan town. The fire very quickly turned into an inferno. The alarm was raised by horrified townspeople who tried to help. At first they could not gain access to the convent and when they were admitted it was almost too late too reach the terrified, screaming children, trapped in the top floor dormitories. A hugely inadequate fire service meant that within forty minutes the flames had taken hold, the roof had caved in and the building was left just a shell. Thirty five children and an elderly lay woman burned to death. The following day the remains of the thirty six bodies were recovered from the smoldering ruin. They were put in just eight coffins and buried subsequently in a mass grave.

The horrific tragedy became national front page news and controversy about locked fire exits and why the children were not evacuated in good time gave the impetus for a public Tribunal of Inquiry. But the results of the Inquiry raised almost more questions than it answered. The inquiry was viewed as a whitewash by some as there was no attempt to hold anyone directly responsible.
Anyone can write for information to:
Sean Galligan,
Co. Cavan,

This is the full list of those who died such a terrible death.

Mary Harrison (15 yrs Dublin)

Mary Hughes (15 yrs Killeshandra)

Ellen McHugh (15 yrs Blacklion)

Kathleen & Frances Kiely (12 yrs & 9 yrs Virginia)

Mary & Margaret Lynch (15 yrs & 10 yrs Cavan)

Josephine & Mona Cassidy (15 yrs & 11 yrs Belfast)

Kathleen Reilly (14 yrs Butlersbridge)

Mary & Josphine Carroll (12yrs & 10 yrs Castlerahan)

Mary & Susan McKiernan (16 yrs & 14 yrs Dromard, Belturbet, Co Cavan.)

Rose Wright (11 yrs Ballyjamesduff)

Mary & Nora Barrett (12 yrs -Twins - Dublin)

Mary Kelly (10 yrs Ballinagh)

Mary Brady (7 yrs Ballinagh)

Dorothy Daly (7 yrs Cootehill)

Mary Ivers (12 yrs Kilcoole Wicklow )

Philomena Regan (9 yrs Dublin)

Harriet & Ellen Payne (11 yrs & 8yrs Dublin)

Teresa White (6 yrs Dublin)

Mary Roche (6 yrs Dublin)

Ellen Morgan (10 yrs Virginia)

Elizabeth Heaphy (4 yrs Swords)

Mary O'Hara (7 yrs Kilnaleck)

Bernadette Serridge (5 yrs Dublin)

Katherine & Margaret Chambers (9 & 7 yrs Keady, Co. Armagh)

Mary Lowry (17 yrs Drumcrow,Ballinagh, Cavan)

Bridget & Mary Galligan (17 & 18yrs Drumbrath,Kilnaleck, Cavan)

Mary Smith (80 yrs employed as Cook)

People & Blogs

* Cavan
* Orphanage
* Fire
* Tragedy
* 0001

Comment by pauline jackson on February 5, 2012 at 22:01

And these people went on teaching children that thay were of no value. its sad and discusting to have put them to rest like that.The mother church. thay are a very bad example as a mother or anything else.Poor little bodys.


Comment by Catherine Roberts on February 13, 2012 at 15:38
How on earth do the religious orders live with what they have done to so many children,I find it heart breaking.
Comment by jack colleton on March 17, 2012 at 18:59

the horned church.

Comment by jack colleton on March 24, 2012 at 0:24
Comment by pauline jackson on March 24, 2012 at 17:51

Its such a sad thing . it must have been so frightening for these children. the poor things. But you know the church hasent changed much as can be seen in the popes letters.How could thay imagine that men would be thinking of the childrens bodys in such a moment . thay dont like humans. many of our fathers were kept well away too which destroyed the bond. there is no limit to the stupidity shown by religous fanatics.

Comment by jack colleton on March 27, 2012 at 0:37

the lid is off the can

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