Goldenbridge school days forum

18/10/2011I made this comment at a forum for those who went to Goldenbridge Convent day school. I thought to get my spoke in, as the industrial ‘school’ was on the same grounds as the national and secondary school.

I was incarcerated into Goldenbridge industrial ´school´ for the most part of my formative years during the mid fifties to late sixties. I was never considered worthy enough by the religious to be sent to the national or secondary school that was only a stones throw away. Life was pure hell in the industrial ´school´.
The latter ´school´ terminology was basically a euphemism for a ´child prison´.
Children slogged away, morning, noon and night at all types of menial tasks, which included making rosary beads behind the closed prison walls of the industrial ´school´. Where Christine Buckley once said that ´the sun never shone´.
The children were envious of the ´special´ children chosen by the nuns to go the convent school. It should have been the constitutional right of all children in the industrial ´school´ to be educated. In fact, the ethos of the Sisters of Mercy was to educate the poor. They failed miserably the most defenceless children in their care.
The children would have benefitted enormously from being educated by the nuns, who acted in loco-parentis, as they had to enter a lonely world after reaching the age of sixteen years. They had no parents or compass to guide them through life. They had to make it on their own at a very young age. It was a big injustice bestowed on them by the religious.
I have very traumatic memories pertaining to my years spent at Goldenbridge industrial ´school´.
I cannot understand why it was called an ´orphanage´, when in fact most of the children had either one or both parents still living. However, they weren´t told they had parents. The children mostly did not even know their names, as they were called by numbers. They never knew their ages. There were siblings who never even knew they were siblings until they got their records when the Freedom of Information Act came into being in the 90s, which allowed them to obtain information about their past lives. They were shocked. Such was the cruel system that prevailed in Goldenbridge industrial ´school´.
Methinks there is some kind of revisionist thinking going on, as there is very little information out there regarding the industrial ´school´, which was knocked to the ground in and around the time of the controversy. I had to point out this fact to the historical heritage folk dealing with Inchicore area. There was so much information about the Sisters of Mercy. It´s all wrong.
I never knew the names of the thirty nuns who resided at the convent during my illegal imprisonment. Children such as myself were classed as the lowest of the low. Those who went to the outside school were allowed to have some contact with the nuns in the convent. Children on the middle rung of the Goldenbridge ladder would also have encountered them, as they were given the honourable task of cleaning and polishing the convent and chapel.
 Please take time to read the following article in order to get more insight into Goldenbridge industrial “school”. Thanks. Marie-Therese O´Loughlin.

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