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The grounds of the former Bon Secours mother and baby home in Tuam, Co. Galway where it’s believed 796 infants may have been buried in a mass grave. Middle: Catherine Corless and, above, today’s coverage in the irish Times.

“Corless writes in her article about hearing of boys who “came upon a sort of crypt in the ground, and on peering in they saw several small skulls. I’m told they ran for their lives and relayed their find to their parents.”

From Rosita Boland’s Tuam mother and baby home: the trouble with the septic tank story piece in today’s Irish Times and  picked up by a number of Catholic websites today.

From the accompanying video Catherine Corless says:

So it was only in my research when I was talking to people in the area, they said ‘Do you know there’s a little graveyard at the back?’  The older residents in the area – now, before these new houses went up – they had the story that two little boys were playing in the area back in the early 70s/late 60s and they came across a huge hollow in the ground. Then they went further and saw there was a slab – a few slabs going across this hollow and so the lads tried to peer in to see what was in there, and they got some stones and broke open more. They said when they cracked open the slab – he said he was just doing this – it was full, full to the brim with skulls and bones. I said ‘Were they big or small?’ ‘Oh’, he said ‘they were little ones, all little ones’ he said.

 

 

 

The full transcript of the video via Paul Moloney:

Catherine Corless: “I started out to do the history of the nuns and the children who went there and I wasn’t expecting the stories that came up. Because we never really knew the home babies as we called them. I kind of remember them going to school in the lower classes. I do remember that they came down in rows, down a double-row down to school. Everybody remembers the sound of the boots because they made a rattle when they came down because the girls and boys wore these hob-nail boots, big black hob-nail boots, summer and winter, and I do remember they were treated that little bit different than the rest of us. We always knew not to play with them and to keep away. This whole area was enclosed with an eight-foot wall right around an acre perimeter, and very few people could see in or out. If you were in there you couldn’t see what was going on in the outside word. A car would come and drop off a mother I suppose and she would go in and once they went in there they just didn’t see outside again until they left.

So it was only in my research when I was talking to people in the area, they said ‘Do you know there’s a little graveyard at the back?’ The older residents in the area – now, before these new houses went up – they had the story that two little boys were playing in the area back in the early 70s/late 60s and they came across a huge hollow in the ground. Then they went further and saw there was a slab – a few slabs going across this hollow and so the lads tried to peer in to see what was in there, and they got some stones and broke open more. They said when they cracked open the slab – he said he was just doing this – it was full, full to the brim with skulls and bones. I said ‘Were they big or small?’ ‘Oh’, he said ‘they were little ones, all little ones’ he said.

Rosita Boland?: “And do you believe him?”

Corless: “Well, it’s not just the boys talking, it’s from other people around the area if you talk to them. They say that a few people came to see what the fuss was about. Someone called the parish priest to come up and to look at the area and to bless it. It’s only in the last month or so that I found out that these boys – now men – were still around. I didn’t have their names until about a month ago.

Boland: “Do you believe that there are all of the children in that grave, do you think that that is possible?”

Corless: “I think it’s quite possible going from the boys’ explanation that it was full to the brim of bones. But still how children at the time, does it matter if it’s 500, 600? If there isn’t a full 796? 10 children in a septic tank? 20? Isn’t that horrific? Is it the numbers that makes it horrific?

Boland: “Would you welcome excavation in that spot?”

Corless: “I would welcome the truth, always, always. The evidence strongly suggests excavation is the only way, if anyone wants to do that. That wasn’t our intention, our intention was to name the children, have them remembered, put up a plaque. I’m thinking of the other mother and baby homes in Ireland, I’m thinking of the groups that are out there, desperately trying as we were, struggling to have children remembered. And if this investigation helps and pushes it forward, I would welcome it. It’s justice, justice to children, justice to the people who gave birth there.”

(Photocall Ireland)

Update: