Connie Roberts Poet

Mount Carmel Orphanage

Mount Carmel Orphanage, Early-90s, Before It Was Razed

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54 thoughts on “Mount Carmel Orphanage

  1. I ran to railings, when I got the smell of the nuns cooking buns still not sure if I ever got one
    also got pinched off the swing or the see saw

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  2. florrie and Helen and cathy

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    • I vividly remember Florrie always carrying one of you on her hips around Ivy House. She was a good big sister. I hope you’re all keeping well. Again, Paddy, thanks for getting in touch. Connie

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  3. and Ann Marie

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  4. the photos are something else I might have been young but remember loads and the chap on the dumper that round the place
    and some old saying like just you wait henry higgins , and two little red curley head twins

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  5. Was there a couple of times for short stays in 1970s with my brothers and sisters – took me by surprise when I saw photos of Mount Carmel again. I worked in Holy Angels both times when I was there. My youngest sister was one of the babies.

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    • Hi Frances. Lovely to meet up with you online. Thanks for checking out my website. Yes, I’m sure the photos of Mount Carmel brought some memories flooding back. I posted them for precisely that: for former residents who might like to have pictures from their childhood.

      And ah, Holy Angels, who could forget that little roomful of babies? And Miss Carberry’s bedroom at the back. I have a poem entitled
      “Holy Angels” in my new collection, “Little Witness”.

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    • 1980 I would have been 4,.was there a path way to the national School behind orphanage, we were not allowed to use it ,,I have a few memories. Salt hill in the summer ,does that sound right?

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  6. If this is orphanage in moate ,I’m amazed to find these pictures. I lived there late 70s and early 80s.Ivy house is name I always remember.

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    • Hi, Liam. Yes, this is the orphanage in Moate. I was there (in Ivy House) till 1980, so we must’ve crossed paths.

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      • What was the name of the orphanage right behind Ivy house which was beside the pathway to national school

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      • Ard Aoibhainn. It was built in the 1970s–a separate group home set apart from the older buildings, the oldest of which was built in 1875 I believe. Ard Aoibhainn was next door to the National School; its address was Station Road, after the nearby train station.

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  7. I had a social worker named mary butler.does nat name ring a bell ,did you ever go to salt hill on summer holidays?

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    • Yes, Liam, I remember Mary Butler very well. She was very nice. I also remember Salthill, where children who didn’t have a foster family to go to went on holidays in the summer. I had a foster family in Tullamore to go to, but some of my siblings went to Salthill each year. By all accounts, they enjoyed it.

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      • Did you have mary butler as your social worker, she must have had a soft spot for me because she used to take me home to her house to her parents for a weekend here and there

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      • No, Mary Butler wasn’t my social worker, but I recall having good chats with her. I’m glad you have fond memories of her, and of visiting her family at weekends.

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    • Just read some of the comments below, the red headed twins were the Galvins. They came and lived in care in Edgeworthstown with the Kennedys. Sr Dominic also known as May lymam came and worked there for many years. Also is that old picture of you is that sister Kevin?? Mary Butler also came and worked in Edgeworthstown, lovely woman.

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      • You have a good memory, Jason. Yes, that’s Sr. Kevin in the B&W photo of me and fellow Mount Carmel children, December 1970.

        And yes, Mary Butler was lovely. You don’t happen to know where she is now, do you? I ask because another former resident–who Mary had been very kind to in childhood–wanted to look her up.

        Sr. Dominic (May Lynam) has been teaching in South Africa for years. We exchange Christmas cards each year.

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  8. I was 7 year old when I left, so I have very vivid memories, but at the same time I feel like I have tons of small memories of things that happened

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    • Liam, I’m sure all the memories would come swimming back to you if you were to sit down and think for any length about your time in Moate.

      I had dinner with my brother Ferdi tonight, who’s over in NY for a few days, and he said he remembers you.

      By the way, I mixed up the names of the houses in an earlier post to you: Ath an Airgead was the house on Station Road; Ard Aoibhainn was directly behind Ivy House (on the left hand side going up to the National School).

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      • I believe I was at ard aoibhann. If memory serves me right when you walked in the main door which was directly across from Ivy House the kitchen on the left hand side a huge kitchen and that but if you walk further down there was a big room with a pool table or snooker table which also has stairs leading to upstairs I could be wrong though. I believe they were doing construction there around the time I left. When I was around 10 or 12 I had detectives come to my house at my foster home ask me questions about stuff that might have happened when I was there. After all the reading I’ve done about the place I can see now why they were asking people questions., I could not remember a single name of any kids I was there except for Mary Butler join a person remember I’m surprised someone would remember my name

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      • That sounds exactly like Ard Aoibhinn alright, Liam. You’ve a good memory! You may remember the red-headed twin boys who were there–their memory escapes me. The Carson family were also in Ard Aoibhinn–Jean, Mary, David, Christy, Robbie.

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      • Do I Would Have Been IN Ard Aoibhann.

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      • It sounds like you were in Ard Aoibhinn during your time in Moate, Liam. I was in Ivy House, but spent a lot of time back and forth to Ard Aobhinn as my best friend Jean Carson–who I’m still friends with today–was in Ard Aoibhinn. Sister Dominic was in charge of Ard Aoibhinn for a long time–you may remember her. She was lovely. She’s in Africa now. We exchange Christmas cards each year. Another boy around your age in Ivy House was Ricky Siggins. You might remember him. There were also the Meehan’s. The Kearney’s.

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      • Hi connie . Maria Hennessy here . Ferdi was tommy carney s friend who used to come to us in Ballycommon outside Tullamore .i worked in the office with sr . Kevin around 1975.

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      • Hi Maria. Thank you for your note. I’m sorry for the delay in responding, but I just came across it now, all these months later. I don’t know how it escaped me. I’ll tell Ferdi you were in touch. Hope all is well. Take care! Connie 🙂

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  9. Hi all, was there a worker there from donegal as I would love to meet up with her some day as she was good to me,
    It’s well changed in moate now I was there a few weeks ago and asked about it in a cafe and was told by a girl there some one else was enquiring the day before I was in,it shows people still looking

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    • Hi, Paddy. There was a staff member from Donegal in Ivy House: Maria Ward. Dark hair, glasses, big smile. She emigrated to New York. I met up with her once over here many years ago, but have no contact details for her.

      Yes, Moate is not the same since they razed Mount Carmel and the convent in the 1990s. It’s all apartments and shops now. I’m sure there are many who go back and visit. It’s only natural to want to know more about your past. As the old saying goes: You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.

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  10. Thanks Connie for that, as I asked some of my sisters and it’s a no go area with them let sleeping dogs lie I think is the term, I got my foi from the Hse so I have most of my dates when I was away good to have them, I was in ny a good few times down in wood lawn as I have frends there I might pop out this year for some shopping and bring my daughter with me as she just turned 4 and would love the crack, thanks paddy in mullingar

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    • Everybody is different, Paddy: some people who grew up in care, for a variety of reasons (they mightn’t be able to handle it, for example), don’t want to revisit the past; others, at different stages of their lives (when they’re older, have child, have emigrated or what have you) feel a need to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

      Myself, in my 20s I couldn’t get far enough away from my childhood in Moate. It wasn’t until my 30s that I had the courage to start digging into the past….and accepting where I’d come from. It’s good to have balance, however: to know when you stop. To know when to leave the past behind and start living in the present.

      Best of luck to you, Paddy!

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  11. And yes you are right if I really sat down and think about it I have tons of small memories ,I remember, red head twins, it would have been probably the same age as me Maybe 5 or 6., going to the dentist, I also remember a young kid there who is sick in a wheelchair passed away. Was there a pig farm in the back of the buildings further back way further back

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    • Aha, see, you do remember the twins! I should’ve read all your posts before I replied. 🙂 There was indeed a farm up past the secondary school. You may recall Jimmy Farrell driving the dumper around picking up rubbish. Mr. O’Brien was another farm laborer. A staff member during your time there might have been a very tall Australian guy–again, I’m sorry, I can’t recall his name.

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  12. I hope I’m not becoming a pain when all my messages it’s just so crazy talking to someone that lived in the same place 35 years later

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    • Liam, rest assured, you’re not a pain at all. Ask all the questions you want–it might help jog your memory. I mightn’t have all the answers for you, though. You know, as I often say to my American husband, that when families get together for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other special occasion, they regale each other with family history, often the same family history over and over again (“remember when Jimmy was 9 and he….” or “remember the time we went to…”). Growing up where we did in Moate, in an orphanage, we don’t have that. We don’t get to tell our histories every year around the family dinner table. We don’t get to reinforce our stories, to pass them along to our children. So ask away, Liam. Your childhood is an important part of your life. It plays a big part in who you become as an adult. We are shaped by our childhood experiences, good and bad.

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      • Not sure if my message went through, I had said that when I was around 10 I had people come to my foster home asking me about my time in moate regarding abuse, if I was or if I had witnessed, never realized that a huge investigation had been going on till I started reading recently. .

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      • I can’t speak to that particular investigation, Liam–I hadn’t heard about it. But I do know that all of my siblings who were in Moate throughout the years, from the 1960s to the 1980s, suffered some kind of abuse, be it physical, psychological, sexual, or emotional. Sometimes all four.

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  13. Hi Coonie, I remember you. Cosh the years. some good times but some such bad times and it abuse.

    I was in Ath An Airgead on the station road, but I remember ard abhionn, ivy house, Chester lodge.

    I still remember Alot of the families in the houses.

    When you see or talking to Jean Carson give my regards please.

    Good to see your post here.

    William Gorry.

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    • Hi, William,

      Lovely to hear from you. Indeed, I remember you from our days in Moate. Thanks for checking out my website.

      I’ll definitely pass along your good wishes to Jean.

      I hope you’re keeping well.

      Best wishes,

      Connie

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  14. I lived there with family in the early 80’S for a few years, we were the Kennedys. Those photos bring back lots of memories, thank you Connie.

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    • Hi Jason. Thanks for checking in. I’m happy you came across the photos. For better or worse, they’re a part of our childhood. I posted them precisely so that former Mount Carmel children could access them, and perhaps share them with their own families.

      I left Ivy House in 1980,but I’m sure you remember some of my younger siblings in Moate. Hope all is well with you. Connie 🙂

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      • My older sister Anne and brothers Alan and Philip would remember a lot of your family,I and two other siblings were too young. I remember Mount Carmel from going back to visit in the mid/late 80’s. I contacted someone who may know Mary Butlers whereabouts but nothing back yet. I visited you page on Facebook and i saw that we have mutual friend in Geraldine Rawlings. She work where i lived in my teens in the 90’s and she may know Mary also.I think she may have worked in Moate years before The last time i remember going there was Winnie Carbarys funeral i think.

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      • Grand. Thanks, Jason. I’ll reach out to Geraldine then.

        All the best,

        Connie

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  15. It,s brilliant to see people looking up there past and not burying it in the back of there minds thinking it was just me
    connie is a bright star for a lot of people
    and I hope she knows that as her voice
    has power.

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    • Hi Paddy. Good to hear from you again. It was so lovely to see you, your wife and your beautiful daughter at the Tullamore Show last August. I hope you’re all flourishing. Thanks for your kind words. And yes, I do think it’s healthy (& brave) to look into your past and own it. Alas, for a variety of reasons (they’re too fragile, it’s too traumatic, etc.), not everyone can do so. Continue to thrive, Paddy! Connie 🙂

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  16. Sorry I remember Maria Hennessy and other lady who used to work for Sr.Kevin in the office.

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    • Hi William. Isn’t it funny, at the mere mention of a name, thoughts (of people, of places) from years ago come flooding back. I can see Sr. Kevin’s office vividly.

      I hope you’re well. It was a courageous thing you did recently telling your story to the media. It was tough reading. It can’t have been easy for you. Although, I think, in many ways, it’s easier to share your story with the world than keep it locked up inside you. I hope, William, you managed to exorcise some demons and gained some sense of relief or solace. It was horrible what happened to you in childhood–my heart goes out to you. I wish you continued strength and much happiness for the future. Sending a big hug from New York. Connie 🙂

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  17. Thanks Connie. It’s not easy and had not been. However if it helps other to share their story or tell / talk to others then great. Thanks for you kind very nice words. I have group photo with Connie and one with is it Sarah. Do you have email or you on Facebook? William x

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  18. My father and aunt I believe were raised in an orphanage until they were about 7. Then they were taken in by foster parents. I’m not sure if this is the same place? I’m having a hard time finding any information about his original name (which I know) and his foster family name.

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    • Hi, Maura. Thanks for checking in. I’m sorry to hear you’re having difficulty finding information on your father and aunt. Don’t give up–the answers are out there. What years might they have been in Mount Carmel industrial school? If they were admitted through the courts,it would be on record with the Department of Education. Many children, however, were referred by the Dept. of Health or the County Council. Alas, those records can be more elusive, as I found out myself years ago when I started gathering information on my own background. In the end, I contacted the adjoining national school, which is still there, and through their records, found out the year I started school, etc. It was very helpful. Again, best of luck on your journey, Maura. If I can be of any help, don’t hesitate to ask. Connie

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    • hi maura i too went digging and i found loads on the past,
      as you have his original name this is a good start and his date of birth, a townland name might help to to narrow your search
      try http://www.irishgenealogy.ie and go through every part something might click also the census records
      its free and safe to look up too, depending on the time, the hse might have some info too there is a freedom of information act
      which you can apply for to get any information the have on him if you know the county where he was from
      maybe show some of the photos connie has posted as they might ring bells to
      best of luck with search
      don’t give up
      paddy mcdermott

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