You may have seen Ireland’s Lost Babies, featuring Lily (top) last night…

“I am looking for my half sister who was born at St Peters Hospital Castlepollard Co Westmeath on 29/11/1957 to a Mary Patricia McDowell. She was taken away from the Sacred Heart Convent Castle Pollard for adoption to the USA, The placement agency was The Angel Guardian Home Long Island New York.The was also given the name Mary Patricia when born but was adopted by an American Couple with the surname O’Connell. Anybody with any information please email.” (John Donoher)

“Hi my name is una Stroud from Athlone co westmeath.myself and my family are looking for our sister, she was born on January 28th 1954 or 1955 she was adopted to a couple from America, my mother’s name was Una Dunleavy from Sligo, sadly my mother passed this year on January 29th and we are desperate for it was my mother’s dying wish to find her daughter our sister.” (Una Stroud)

“I am looking for a micky Joe mulligan,or Michael Joseph Mulligan born at castlepollard 1955/6 adopted to an American couple any information would be appreciated” (Totty Maude)

“I am adopted from Ireland. I was born in Castlepollard on June 12, 1951. My birthname was Catherine Mary Flanagan, my mothers name was Margaret Flanagan (formerly Clara) as states on my birth certificate. I was born at a place called Manor House. I was adopted in December of 1951. I am looking for any family which may still be in the area, and looking for information on my parents. I have no information on my father. I was adopted through the ST. Patricks Guild. I need help in looking for for any living relatives. I was adopted by a family from California in the US.” (Cathy Filglas)

“I was adopted from Ireland. I was born in Castlepollard on December 16, 1955. Was adopted from Sacred Heart in Castlepollard. My birth name was Christina Mary Connolly and was adopted on December 22, 1957 to the USA. I now live in New York. If anyone has any info on Connolly who gave birth to a daughter on December 16, 1955, please e-mail me at…would like to hear from any others adopted from Castlepollard and any info anyone has in tracing their birth parents and possible siblings…” (Mary Jean Connolly)

“My name is Kelly Little now. I was born at Sacred Heart Convent/St. Peter Hospital in Castlepollard on the 4th of April 1962. My mothers name was Josephine Kelly (maiden name). The name on my birth certificate was Grainne Anne Kelly. I was adopted by a couple in Kansas in 1964. Josephine would have been around 22 at the time of my birth. If anyone has any info I would appreciate hearing from you. Please email me at “ (Kelly Little)

A selection of messages from the Irish Roots website [readable in full here and here] following last night’s BBC Two documentary “Ireland’s Lost Babies” (repeated tonight at 10.15 pm. on RTÉ One and available to watch now on YouTube above), featuring the Sacred Heart Mother and Baby Home, Castlepollard, County Westmeath.

A key player in the Castlepollard adoptions was the local parish priest, Father PJ Regan, who was also chairman of the St Clare’s Adoption Society, run by the Franciscan sisters.

Journalist Mike Milotte, in his book “Banished Babies”, records that over 300 children from Castlepollard and over 130 children from St Clare’s, were adopted by American families during the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

The book also records how subsequent attempts by those children – and their mothers – to make contact – were frustrated by the deliberate provision of incorrect information by both Father Regan and the Sacred Heart nuns.

Pic via

Thanks Sibling of Daedalus

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11 thoughts on “Root Less

  1. Martin

    What the fupp was wrong with these sick twisted men and women that they treated women with such disgust and contempt.

    1. Small Wonder

      It’s absolutely heartbreaking. Let us never again cede power to anyone claiming a moral superiority on the basis of religious beliefs.

  2. Casey

    One thing strikes me about the dates..WW2 is just over and the good ole’ boys and gals in the RCC are selling babies to beat the band. Nice.

    1. James Egan 301

      The RC picked up on the American business post ww2

      A lot of american families were anxious about adopting kids because of the taint of bad blood.

      What happened immediately post ww2 was a series of informal adoptions by american servicemen whose wives came to ireland ostensibly for their births but really for other women’s births, registered the baby in heir own name and then went back to america. Irish kids were described as ‘very healthy’ in the American papers of the 1940s when referring to ‘adoptees’, they weren’t malnourished or born to malnourished parents like babies from war-torn Europe. The Catholic Church picked up on this trend and exploited it to the max.

      Irish babies are still very prized in the US, although irish law prohibits non-resident adoption there are ways round it, like the natural mother moving a broad for the birth or afterwards. it costs money but you can do it.

      1. James Egan 301

        taint of bad blood = taint of non-European blood, for those who weren’t brought up in 1950s America.

      2. Casey

        Ummm…. In 1994 the UN passed a law outlawing international adoption. Ireland refused to sign. President Clinton signed for the US but not one member of congress sponsored the bill.

        US citizens can adopt Irish children still and as of 2012, vice versa.

        1. MD

          Not true, from the Irish Voice, 2010 – note residency requirement :-
          “Adopting an Irish-born child will likely be next to impossible for a number of reasons. First and foremost, there aren’t really any Irish children available for adoption these days – locating one would be akin to finding a needle in a haystack. In the decades last century when out of wedlock pregnancies were deeply frowned upon, and when Ireland was a poor nation, adoption of Irish-born children was more prevalent. Now, pre-marriage births are commonplace and widely accepted in Ireland, and Irish orphanages for abandoned babies do not exist. Irish couples looking to adopt routinely go abroad to Eastern Europe or Asia to do so, as Irish children simply aren’t available. Another factor you would have to bear in mind if you were to adopt an Irish child is a residency requirement written into Irish law. Any foreigner wishing to adopt an Irish child would have to reside in Ireland for at least a year as part of the process. Given how difficult this would be for many couples, adoption of Irish children is an extreme rarity. “

  3. Dubloony

    All records relating to adoption should be compelled to be in a central repository to that the parents & children can request them and contact details. If 2 want to meet, should be help arranging it.

    No religious should be involved.

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