Tuam mother and baby home-Interview with Alison O’Reilly.

Tuam is an idyllic town in Ireland. It is second-largest settlement in County Galway. Unfortunately since 2014 it has become know for all the wrong reasons.

The Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home (also known as St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home or simply The Home)that operated between 1925 and 1961 in Tuam. It was a maternity home for unmarried mothers and their children. The Home was run by the Bon Secours Sisters, a religious order of Catholic nuns, that also operated the Grove Hospital in the town. Unmarried pregnant women were sent to the Home to give birth.

In 1975, two boys, ages 10 and 12, were playing at the site of the former Mother and Baby Home. They found a hole or chamber “filled to the brim” with children’s skeletons underneath a concrete slab. One would expect this would have been investigated, but that was not the case.

Locals speculated that these were the remains of victims of the Great Famine, unbaptised babies,and/or stillborn babies from the Home. The number of bodies was then unknown, but was assumed to be small. It was re-sealed shortly afterwards, following prayers at the site by a priest. For the next 35 years the burial site was tended to by a local couple, who also built a small grotto there. The burial site was nothing more but a septic tank.

In 2012, local historian Catherine Corless published an article about the home in the annual Journal of the Old Tuam Society.

At that stage she did not have the names of all of the children who had died there. In 2013, Ann Glennon, a public servant at the Galway Health Service Executive registrar for births, deaths and marriages, at Corless’ request and expense, retrieved the names of the 796 children who had death certificates listing “The Tuam Home” or the “Tuam Children’s Home” as place of death. Most of the children were infants and had died at the Home during its years of operation (1925 – 1961).

In 2014 the story was brought to the attention of journalist Alison O’Reilly. Alison was a reporter for the Irish Mail on Sunday and was documenting the case of Bethany Mother and Child Home, when a woman, Anna Corrigan, read her articles and decided to contact Alison.

Anna Corrigan contacted Alison to tell her that her, Anna, two brothers were buried in a mass grave in Tuam in Co Galway. Two brothers she was not aware her mother had, she believed she was an only child. Her mother Bridget kept that secret for all her life. After that Alison got in contact with Catherine Corless, the story got international attention, even the New York times covered it. Alison also wrote a book about Anna Corrigan’s mother

Last week I interviewed Alison and asked her about the story of the Tuam mother and baby home and the Bafta winning documentary she was involved in about the home. I left the interview unedited, because I think it is important to get the story across with all the emotions that it brings up.

The children are still buried in that septic tank.

sources

https://www.irishtimes.com/tags/alison-o-reilly/

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/oireachtas/excavation-at-former-tuam-mother-and-baby-home-to-be-one-of-most-complex-ever-1.4816734

https://www.galwaybeo.ie/culture/journalist-who-broke-tuam-mother-5967526

https://www.sundayworld.com/showbiz/tv/new-documentary-recounts-the-search-for-truth-behind-the-tuam-mother-and-baby-scandal/41025734.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-54693159

The sinking of HMS Mashona

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HMS Mashona was a Tribal-class destroyer of the Royal Navy that saw service in the Second World War.

She was built by Vickers Armstrong, with her machinery supplied by Parsons. She was authorised in the program year 1936. Mashona was laid down on 5 August 1936, launched on 3 September 1937 and completed by 30 March 1939.

Mashona HMS, under command of Cdr. Selby, was one of those taking part in the pursuit of the German battleship Bismarck.

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On May 28th, 1941, the day following the Bismarck´s destruction, the British forces were heavily bombed by German aircraft and HMS Mashona was hit and sunk  off the coast of Galway with the loss of 48 men.

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The destroyer Tartar took the survivors to Greenock.

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Limerick,Dublin,Galway,California and a Prince from Montenegro.

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No this is not a fairy tale. It is something you could refer to as ‘History at your doorstep’It is a local bit of history with touches two sides of the Atlantic ocean and ancient mainland Europe.

Milo Petrović-Njegoš ( 1889–1978) was a prince of Montenegro. He was a direct descendant of Radul Petrović, brother of Prince-Bishopric Danilo I.

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Prince Milo never knew poverty and came from a very privileged background, but as happens so often ,due to circumstances beyond his control his world got turned upside down.

Prince Milo was born in Njeguši on 3 October 1889 to Đuro Petrović and Stane-Cane Đurašković. During World War I, he was the commander of the Lovćen Brigade.

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As soon as the Austro-Hungarian troops began to leave the territory of Serbia and Montenegro in November 1918, the French and Serbian units are immediately occupied the territory of the Kingdom of Montenegro. Montenegrins were initially considered their allies. A newly convened National Assembly of Podgorica  accused the Кing of seeking a separate peace with the enemy and consequently deposed him, banned his return and decided that Montenegro should join the Kingdom of Serbia on December 1, 1918. A large part of the Montenegrin population started a rebellion against the amalgamation, the Christmas Uprising (7 January 1919).

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Prince Milo left Montenegro in 1919 and continued for more than a half century all around the world to struggle for Montenegrin rights and renewal of Montenegrin statehood. He married Helena Grace Smith in Santa Barbara, California, U.S., on 3 September 1927. On 23 October 1928, his only child, Milena was born in Los Angeles, United States. He left his family the following year and settled in London.He later moved to Dublin, Ireland where he owned an antiques shop. Later in his life he moved to Clifden county Galway.

In 1978 he ended up in Limerick,how or why he was here is unclear. he died in the Barringtons Hospital  Limerick on 22 November 1978.

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At his request he was buried  buried in a plot he had purchased in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick. It is a very unassuming grave not something you expect a grave of a Prince would look like. Many times I have walked by it without realizing who laid there.

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A small plague has been erected in front of the grave, giving a short history of the Prince.

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His Daughter ,Milena Thompson, attended the funeral. She published a book called “My father the Prince”

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