Calvary, St. Michael’s Church, Inchicore, Dublin 8
As one came out of the main entrance gates at Goldenbridge industrial “school” one was greeted with an old arched stone gate entrance that was situated right across the road. It was a very secret place. It had the letters D.O.M. emblazoned on the top of the arch. Goldenbridge industrial “school” children always surmised that the letters meant Dead Old Men. There was never a stir from the place in all the years I can remember during my childhood. It was a place that children felt scary of due to its D.O.M connotation. So, am stunned to learn that it was indeed an ancient graveyard with a lot of history attached to it.
Apparently the graveyard went into dereliction, and has now been rescued by a trust, and given a fantastic clean over. This photo would have been recently taken just inside the gates. D.O.M. lettering is on the outside of the gates. I note that there is a lodge to the left at the gate. There was also a similar lodge directly inside Goldenbridge industrial “school”, just right across the road. A country family lived there. Presumably the duty of the husband was to supervise the goings-on in the immediate area. Perhaps he worked for the nuns. I only vaguely remember them. I know that there were children in the household.
I watched footage of President J.F. Kennedy the other day on Twitter. It was in honour of his assassination of 50 years. I was staggered to see pictures of him in Ireland. I had pointed out to followers that at the time the president came to Ireland I would have been locked away in Goldenbridge, and thus would have been none the wiser of his visitation. The same would have been applicable with the D.O.M. graveyard right across the road from the industrial “school“. The children had no knowledge of anything outside the industrial “school”, which lay hidden, and out of sight – just the same with the historical graveyard – they too were written off. To this day, I would still feel like an outsider to the Inchicore area. I know that Keogh Square was knocked to the ground, and high-rise buildings were built, that eventually on a social behaviour level, the latter became the bane of the authorities. It’s rather ironic that the only place left standing in all its glory is the graveyard.
A wonderful job has been done on the graveyard. From reading comments on a Facebook account, it appears that other people who grew up in Keogh Square – which was right next door – were also not cognisant of the ancient graveyards’ existence. It’s absolutely fantastic that work is being done on the graves.
I need to find out more about the trust that has taken it over. Fair dues to it, anyway. I hope local people are employed in the rejuvenation clean-up operation.
If it hadn’t been for Communion photo events taken at Goldenbridge, there would hardly be much evidence that even the Industrial “School” existed at all. The Rec [wreck] hall can be seen in the top left hand corner. See: building with four double windows. During my time in Goldenbridge there was an annexe that led to the end of the [prison] yard that housed some toilets, a Victorian bathroom and laundry and a corrugated verandah fire escape. The windows seen here overlooked the end of the yard. The whole area would have had a large wall and a side door. So nothing could be seen from the front, as is the case of this photo.
The Communion girls would have come from the vicinity, and attended outside school that was on these grounds. Nonethless, I can’t help thinking that perhaps the girls with very short hair could have come from the Industrial “School’. As the nun in charge at that time was very fond of giving children crew-cuts. See: second girl to the right hand side. Indeed, I could be totally wrong, the girl’s hair could have been cut my her family.
Behind the trees was a new building that went up during my teenage years. I vaguely remember going to cookery classes there, which was for the prime purpose of gaining the Primary Certificate.
In Goldenbridge convent photos that I’ve seen thus far there is no sign of a long cloister that was there during my incarceration period in the mid 50s/late 60s. So the one seen here is indeed such a rarity. If you look to the top left hand corner of the photo in the background you’ll see the cloister that industrial “school” children had to stand underneath in all weathers waiting for the priest to arrive to say daily mass at 7: 00 a.m.. The industrial “school” lay not too far beyond (unseen) left of photo. It was neatly hidden away from all.
Looking at the chairs that local communion boys are sitting/standing on I do remember that whenever there were concerts and annual films in the Rec [wreck] hall that chairs of that style were stored at the back of the stage in the Rec hall. The chairs were also similar to ones used in the dining hall. The paddock field behind was home to a donkey by the name of Neddy.
Sorry Communion boys! I don’t mean to make you secondary to the contents of this post. However, for GB posterity reasons I thought the cloister and the like needed mentioning.
Every day of my life as a wee child was spent entering this chapel door, which adjoined Goldenbridge convent. It was one of two side entrances into the chapel. The other entrance on the far side was mainly used at evening time for benediction. No outsiders ordinarily attended the chapel. It was mainly in usage for children; nuns and local visiting priest.
The nuns entered the body of chapel via the convent, the latter of which which lay directly opposite this entrance. In fact, the chapel was an arm off the convent.
I’ve jazzed up the photo to make it appear surreal, as to me that was how I’d adequately describe the feelings felt every day when having to go several times to this chapel for Latin mass and benediction. I knew exactly what awaited my arrival there in terms of rituals. The nuns had their allotted pews at the back of the centre aisle. Children from the industrial “school” had to wait under the cloister in all sorts of weather until the priest had arrived at 6: 55 a.m. to say mass at 7: 00 a.m..
If this two-way door could speak, it would tell of all the children who had to be carried out of the chapel because they had fainted due to lack of food, not having had any sustenance since 6: 00 p.m the evening before, and that would have consisted only of two miserable mouldy slices of white bread, and a plastic cup of sugarless black cocoa. Some children who fainted were invariably told by the industrial “school” nun that they were looking for attention from the convent nuns. How absurd, considering that the pallidness on their faces was self evident that they were weak and unwell. Notwithstanding also that there was no interaction with the convent nuns at all. The majority of the children wouldn’t have even been cognisant of their names. Never the Twain did meet. Such was the stigma attached to Goldenbridge industrial “school” children. Shame on the Irish judiciary for having sent children – who were in need of care and nurturing – to the religious who were so cold. It had been part of the training of nuns in general in other industrial “schools” not to get attached to children in their care. That was so at odds with the LOVE they lavished on the enormous crucified Christ that adorned the main altar wall where the priest said mass in the chapel.
Throughout the year, the Rec that was euphemistically known as the ‘wreck” became a venue for Irish dancing competitions, (Feiseanna) during St. Patrick’s weekend. It was one of the two times of the year that outsiders were allowed into the Dickensian building. The Irish dancing visitors and partakers in the competitions, with their relatives came via a side entrance, that was somewhat separated from the most part of the institution. Children were left alone at this time, as the nuns and staff could not afford to be seen to be not nice to the children. In fact, it was at times like this that they acted strangely nice, which was sort of confusing, as the children were just not used to seeing them smiling and good-natured. I likened the freedom felt at these times to when I was with a host family called the Boyne’s, when I rambled off and felt as free as a wild bird. The same kind of freedom permeated my being and it was such a relief from the every day stress that abounded in the lives of child inmates. We always soaked up the carefree atmosphere, and went up to visitors and smiled at times. The rec was a hive of activity.
Ms. D always put on an act in the Rec, for the sole purpose of drawing attention to the Irish dancing teachers who were classed as the tops in Ireland. Mr. Malone and Rory O’Connor. The latter teacher had a prestigious school of dancing.
They danced the six and twelve hand-reel and The Blackbird, solo hornpipes, jigs and reels
For example: Dinnertime too was the best of all, as dinners were inclined to be that much larger in portions. Also there even may have been second helpings. I vaguely recall at those those times sometimes being treated to tiny roast potatoes with mince -meat and green peas. Whilst lining up at the hatch that lay to the left hand corner at the top of the dining-hall I can recall the excitement felt at premeditating on the green peas that subsequently would have been thrown up in mid air, and devoured down another hatch, if the wide the open mouth of mine gauged their landing properly; all before the staff had hopefully caught my eye, before reaching the six-seater dinner table. The green jelly and ripple ice-cream was to die for indeed.
Holy days had had such a more positive effect on the nuns, and it seeped over on to the children. It’s a sad indictment really to think that religious feast-days were the only times that the nuns saw fit to feed children properly. Their whole lives were dependent on religion for survival.
Nuns’ religious garb were meticulously reconditioned, and their snow white starched coifs were more stiffer and whiter than snow. The pleats in the black garb was more noticeable. They also wore easily removable bainin-coloured flowing sleeves whilst in the chapel in the aftermath of Easter. There was an air of holiness all around. It rubbed off on the children.
When I am dead and gone do not forget to comfort yourselves with a nice cup of tea.
They then had to bless themselves and in unison recite the Angelus. Throughout the year, except during Paschal time, Roman Catholics recite instead the Regina Coeli prayer. The latter also traditionally recite the Angelus in the mornings at 6: 00am and then again at 12: 00 noon and once again in the evenings at 6:00pm
The Angelus:V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.R. and she conceived of the Holy Spirit.Hail Mary, etcV. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.R. Be it done- unto me according to thy word.Hail Mary, etc.V. And the Word was made Flesh.R. And dwelt among us.Hail Mary, etc.V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.R. That we may be made worthy of the promises through Christ our lord
Pour forth; we beseech Thee, O Lord,Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy SonWas made known by the message of an angel,May by His Passion and Cross-be brought to the glory of His Resurrection.Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen!
On finishing the Angelus children then entered the dining-hall, under the watchful eye of senior staff on duty. Mother Catherine McAuley Foundress of The Sisters of Mercy looked down on them from an over-sized picture frame, which was positioned high on the wall in the centre of the large cold Dining Hall.
Bless us, O Lord,And these Thy gifts,Which of thy bounty we are about to receiveThrough Christ our Lord.Amen.St. Rock bless us and preserve us from all sickness.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost Amen!
…[j]ust a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…
take that smirk off your face (so and so, enter derogatory name)
It was always the same palaver with some nasty staff pertaining to children who refused to eat their lumpy potatoes or lumpy dessert. They were force-fed or were requested by certain callous staff to sit in their particular seats until food was completely eaten off the plates. That could take hours if a child happened to be new or very stubborn. These times were very traumatic for younger children whose hair could be reefed out of them by malicious staff and whose faces could be viciously stuffed into the plastic dinner-plates. The nuns would have been up in the convent having their own dinner and would not have witnessed this diabolical barbaric behaviour.
We give Thee thanksFor all Thy benefitsO Almighty GodWho livest and reignest forever;World without end. Amen.May the divine assistance remain always with you and may the souls of the faithful departedthrough the mercy of God rest in peace. AMEN.
Starvation once againStarvation once again no bread no butterStarvation once again.
K for Kennedy E, for energy N, for nice and N, for nourishing E, for enjoyment and D, for delicious and Y’s mean you are satisfied.
I learned as an adult, that there were girls of 14 years of age with children also taking charge of babies belonging to other unmarried mothers at the Regina Coeli Hostel, whilst their mothers went out working. Apparently, it was the rule at the mother and baby unit during my time there in the fifties.
During my youth – a girl of 14 in general from a Dublin working class area was considered old enough to work, as there was no choice due to poverty-stricken times. So presumably, if she was old enough to work, she was also old enough to have her own children, notwithstanding having to also look after those belonging to other girls/women in aforementioned institutional setting to boot.
A child of ten years of age was considered old when entering an institution, by the standards of those who were wrought by the system since birth and not long thereafter. For example, children sent to Goldenbridge at 10 years of age and older had a ‘worldly’ wherewithal, and also were the ones who clashed with those who were there from very young ages. Some of the former had the propensity to look down on the latter. They could not comprehend the maladaptive instututionalised behaviour patterns of the ‘unworldly’ ones. The ‘worldly’ children also had the emotional capacity to form close bonds with certain children, and that caused resentment, as the ‘unworldly’ ones felt threatened by their insular ways of carrying on. The parochial clannish ways would have been more expected from those children who never saw the outside world.
The ‘worldly’ children could be callous and ruthless in their treatment of ‘unworldly’ ones, because they could differentiate between them, and the children they had encountered in their 10 years in the outside world. So it was far easier to just shun the ‘unworldly’ children. The ‘unworldly’ children were classed as ‘orphans’ because they did not have any visitors. I would have been in the ‘unworldly’ category, despite having had 10 months experiences of the outside world with a host family, before I was carted back to Goldenbridge at 9 years old. That didn’t count, though, as I was still seen as part of the overall system, because the family were only a host family – not a biological family per se.
Children who entered at an older age had the capacity to be utterly compassionate and defensive towards their own siblings. I’ve got vivid memories of trying to befriend a girl who went to Goldenbridge at an older age, as I saw that she was different. She had such ‘worldly’ ways about her. Alas, she didn’t want to know me. Instead she made friends with a girl who was a La La (pet) and who went to outside school. They had far more in common from her standpoint.
An ‘unworldly’ boy could have had his 10 years stint done at Goldenbridge or St. Kyran’s in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow before starting off again at an Industrial “School” of the ilk of Artane, or St. Joseph’s in Kilkenny. So – you can see here, why a child entering for the first time was so obviously seen as a new-timer as opposed to a very old-timer.
Life was very difficult for those ‘unworldly’ boys, who had no choice but to be sent to a second institution. They rarely would have had any kind of family looking out for them. They simply had to figure out their newfound settings all on their own. I know one chap who had been in St. Kyran’s all his young life, who just could not decipher between the genders of the nuns and the Christian Brothers, as they were attired in similar long black robes.
Boys such as the one mentioned were likewise deemed as ‘orphans’ in their new found settings, and in order to survive had to become lackeys for those big WORLDLY boys who were sent there directly from home at older ages. By all accounts they had a far more brutal time in their dealings with them.
I know a lot of survivors were extremely peeved at the outset of the commission to inquire into child institutional abuse when those who had only been a mere ‘wet-week’ in institutional care were lapping up all the limelight. Prominent survivors who had spent their whole childhood in Goldenbridge and other Industrial “Schools” were stunned that those who were a mere 12/15 months in those hellholes, at the ages of approximately 12-15 were gaining the most notoriety. It was unfathomable. Those ‘worldly’ children of the past seemingly, once again, were acting out behaviour patterns that albeit were far too familiar to the ‘unworldly’ past children. I remember pointing it out to a now prominent politician. However I was greeted with the following – if it was not for the ‘worldly’ ones the longstanding ‘unworldly’ survivor voices would not be heard. The politician was so right, as the latter were still bereft of wherewithal. They were the most voiceless silent section of Irish society.