I was in Connemara yesterday and I took a walk around the grounds of GMIT Letterfrack. I found the Letterfrack Industrial School graveyard. Under the Industrial Schools Act (1888) the purpose of these schools was to ‘care for neglected, orphaned and abandoned children.’
The school opened its doors on 12th October 1887 under the management of the Christian Brothers. 2,819 boys passed through the doors of Letterfrack until the school closed in 1974.
I’m not going to link any website about this, it’s just heartbreaking. You’d think a child in school would be safe, not so in this case. Shoes hang on the gates leading to the graveyard.
Black ribbons encourage us to remember…and we should.
The tiny heart shaped plaques are placed there in memory of the boys who died in the school.
Toys are placed around for boys who lost their childhood. I walked around listening to children playing nearby and thinking of these children who never got the chance to play. There really are no words……
May they Rest in Peace.
Lovely and sad post. Aways worth sharing and remembering. Have not been there but intend to visit now.
such a sad place
Shocking. And so recently closed. I visited the site of the Sligo Workhouse cemetery and memorial which incidentally the girl in the tourist info office had never heard of (did we have a workhouse here?) and a more sorrowful spot I hope to never see. It was up there with Dachau. 😥
Oh gosh Caroline, I can’t believe they didn’t know.
Thank you for sharing this with us, Val. It’s important for them to be remembered by someone, even people like us whom they never knew. God rest them.
thank you Sara
I shiver when I drive through Letterfrack. Such a horrendous institution.
yes Ann, so awful
I visit there quite regularly (yesterday in fact) it’s a place of extreme loneliness, heartache, children lost to a regime of horrid mental and physical abuse. Its location away from the immediate eye unless you were local, like hidden away so what one can’t see so to speak. The amount of times I have visited there and never to see anyone else has always been a shock to me……but, if you delve deeper “the locals” will never discuss or want you to speak about it……
It’s a very sad place Kathy and I can imagine that the locals don’t want to discuss it. Some must have known what was going on.
One of the saddest places I have ever visited. The location alone is beyond sad. You can feel the children calling out for help in the air. Entering the woods leading to the graveyard is full of the cries of these babies. Shame on the church and state that allowed this to happen to innocents
Visited there in August of 2018. It is the saddest place I’ve ever been to in my whole life. I’ve also visited Tuam and have been to Roscrea but nothing compares to the utter sadness that is in Letterfrack in my opinion. There is an awful air hanging over this little graveyard. I tried to understand how so many boys could possibly die at the ages they did. I tried to imagine what it might have been like for these young boys to try and escape from this horrible place that is in such a remote part of Conemara. Any of those that succeeded In running away had no place to run to as I’d imagine there were even less houses in the vicinity back then.
These poor little boys Its unimaginable what they probably suffered
Yes I can identify with letterfrack .
I myself was farmed out I like to call it what it was .
Some like to call it being boarded out as if it was some posh hotel we were being put up in
Yes I remember a lost childhood as well.
Never had a Christmas never had a birthday never had any love .
A completely lost childhood.
What a sad poem !! Life is so unfair. Why were they treated so brutally by the Christian Brothers? Hope if there’s a he’ll let them sizzle.