I’m Your Mama! Alive and Well!

My cup was overflowing. The insatiable need to know my maternal roots was beyond comprehension. Desperately Seeking Joan-Carmel O’Loughlin’s grave became my mission in life.

I had very little difficulty finding my mother’s birthplace and history, as a young person (under the age of thirty). It all happened in a flash. I had taken the long lonely journey from a London hostel to the house of Mrs. Boyne in Westland Row, Dublin, who took me out as a child from Goldenbridge industrial *school*. It was a good move on my part as within a half hour of telling the family that I had wanted to find the grave of a mother, whom I was told as a child by the religious that she was DEAD (very common story with survivors) I was in receipt of her family background history and home-place. It was staggering news to the ears to know from where she derived. It was not long afterwards upon meeting one of her six brothers that I discovered that she was in fact alive and well and only living a mere hundred miles from me in Birmingham. I simply broke down and wanted to lash out at the whole world for all the isolation and the lack of a family I had lost out on for the most crucial part of life – my childhood. The anger and a thousand other emotions all came to the fore together. I thought my brain would explode. I’ve never recovered from the painful experience. Analysis alone cannot bring back the lie that was told me by the religious in Goldenbridge. I know that I would have went in search of her as soon as I’d left the institution at sixteen years old, had I been told the truth that she had just vanished out of my life as a five year old. She told me herself that she’d expected me to come looking for her when I left the institution. When I finally encountered her for the first time at Victoria St. London, I knew that I’d found the jewel in the crown. What a sigh of relief! I would have lived in a matchbox with her. I remember thinking that for all the tea in China I would not have exchanged her for another mother – despite everything. Other survivors who grew up with me used to tell me that what I thought about my mother was purely and simply not reality based. They reminded me so often that she’d abandoned me. I could not express the anger of the abandonment, as I was so relieved to have discovered a huge part of my identity. The joy of that encompassed everything and camouflaged the anger. The new-found joy over-rided everything else.


Desperately Seeking Michael D’Arcy

Miltown Malbay (IrishSráid na Cathrach, meaning “street of the stone ringfort“) is a town and parish in the west of County Clare,Ireland, near Spanish Point. H/t Wiki.

I’m writing about a very delicate subject matter that most survivors of industrial *schools* will very easily recognise and empathise with instantaneously. In fact it would have been one of the most saddest legacies to have befallen same since leaving their respective institutions after incarceration periods were up.

It concerns itself with the seeking of their roots. The loss of identity. The loss of what they might have aspired to have been had they not had the loss of identity that befell them in very early childhood and later. The loss of parents. The loss of siblings. The loss of aunties and uncles. The loss of grandparents and possibly great grandparents. The loss of community and friends from whence they originated or should have originated. The sense of isolation that the loss brings with it is excruciatingly traumatic. It goes on forever. The self-absorption with wanting to identify with one’s next of kin is so strong that it can virtually take over the lives of a lot survivors of industrial *schools*.

Those who have never known childhood without (loving) parents could possibly ever begin to comprehend the tortuous angst and deep sorrow that derives from that loss of one’s identity at such an early age. It is known that early attachment figures are so important for proper healthy development. Especially the vital loss of the most precious gift a child can ever aspire to having been graced with…the most precious jewels = its parent(s).

Attachment in childhood can also be described as the considerable closeness a child feels to an authority figure. It also describes the function of availability, which is the degree to which the authoritative figure is responsive to the child’s needs and shares communication with them. Childhood attachment can define characteristics that will shape the child’s sense of self and how they carry out relationships with others.[2] Wiki sourced.

Read the rest here

Even as I write Desperately Seeking Michael D’Arcy sadness permeates every core of my being. It’s utterly isolating having to express the innermost despairing sentiments on a subject matter that has personally affected my institutional counterparts and myself.

Undoubtedly it has done untold life-long damage to the psyches of innumerable survivors.

Information collated directly below is just stuff googled by me from the Inernet and it is only a holding place here until further investigative work is done. Nothing has been confirmed in any way.

IHS In loving memory of Michael D’Arcy who died 1st Oct 1936 aged 83 years and his son John D’Arcy also James D’Arcy died 18th July 1959 aged 60 yrs, his wife Susan died 14 Sept 1978 aged 75 R.I.P. Erected by his wife Catherine D’Arcy.
Erected by Mary D’Arcy, Mountscott in memory of her beloved daughter Catherine who died 22nd March 1932 R.I.P.
John D’Arcy killed in France in 1918.

I was just told in an e-mail that the above D’Arcy’s are connected to the same Michael D’Arcy…

Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin – 03:29pm Mar 19, 2007 Irish (#8 of 97)

I am seeking information on Michael D’Arcy or anyone who might be connected. Michael [Mick] hailed originally from Milltown-Malbay. He left the area as a young lad during the forties and went to Dublin. I do know that he had contact with his grandmother. You are most welcome to contact me at: mariethereseoloughlin@yahoo.ie

Library Forum • View topic – Clare’s WWI dec’d US soldiers D’Arcy .

See: original census  form 1911 information pertaining to the D’Arcy name in Mullough, (spelled Mullagh nowadays) Co Clare. The first language is As Gaeilge (Irish). I don’t know who they are, but I do notice that the D’Arcy name is not exactly very prevalent.

I spotted the name Frawley a lot in the Co. Clare census archives. It instantly reminded me of the landmark shop in Thomas St. Dublin. The Boyne’s of Boyne St. off Westland Row, who took me out on holidays and weekends, up to the age of nine, bought my communion clothes (and hornpipes that I’d insisted on having) from Frawley’s.

I had purchased some items in the shop for nostalgic reasons. Alas, it was not long afterwards that it closed for good. Dubliners will remember the shop with fondness. The religious at Goldenbridge bought the clothes there for the children.

original census form Carrowlagan Mullough. Co, Clare. D’Arcy’ family?

original census form There is one Francis D’Arcy nephew with the Hogan family?

original census form Callinan?

original census form Ah… there is the name Michael D’Arcy mentioned here?

Marie Collins

Marie Collins’ determination helped pull down a cover-up by Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese that had gone on for decades.

THE JAILING of Paul McGennis was a further landmark in the campaign over many dark years by Marie Collins. This man had blighted the lives of children. The Murphy commission concluded

“there is no doubt that Collins, in her often lonely campaign to show the archdiocese how it had erred in its handling of child sexual abuse cases, was instrumental in changing the archdiocese’s understanding and handling of these cases . . .”

I’ve given Marie a few digs every now and again in the past because I felt that she was given high profile media attention and those of us who were abused by the Irish political and religious system in all manners of ways for years on end were almost completely sidelined. But now when I look at it objectively I see that she was also fighting a lonely battle with the church and that it can’t have been easy for her at all.

I also took umbrage at the conservative stance that she appeared to take in terms of her religion in spite of all that she had suffered as a thirteen year old at the hands of one of its trusted servants. I am not a mind-reader and should not have jumped to conclusions about her religion without knowing the full facts. She has suffered enough without a survivor of institutional child abuse pointing the finger at her any further. We are coming from the same camp at the end of the day. I had not read the following article in the now defunct  Sunday Tribune where John Downes, News Investigations Correspondent stated: 

Well-known clerical abuse survivor Marie Collins, who has doggedly remained a Catholic in the hope that the church will reform, is considering quitting the church following Pope Benedict’s decision not to accept the resignations of two Dublin auxiliary archbishops.

Describing last week’s revelation as the “final nail in the coffin” of her hope that the church would change, Collins said she has “really gone beyond the point I was at before”.

“When I was clinging on to my Catholic faith with my fingertips in the past, I still had hope. And Diarmuid Martin was a symbol of that. I would definitely see this as the end of any hope that things are going to change,” she said. “So I’m at the point definitely of thinking this is not the church for me. I’m not just saying that for effect. I just can’t see any glimmer of hope, any reason to stay. I’m totally shattered at this point.

“I have always said my Christianity is not in doubt. I am not disillusioned with my faith in God or Christ. But I am just at the point where I’m considering that I don’t need to call myself a Catholic anymore, in a church where clerical power holds sway. My hope of reform coming from within the clerical church is gone.”

Read the rest over at Paddy Doyle’s God Squad here

I do take the view though that the church sees Marie as some kind of safe survivor that it wishes to portray to the world as a tokenism sexual abuse offering. As she appears to be one who will not shake the holy Vatican roof, or blow out St. Peter’s candles with the fierce gust of ill-wind.

Barbara Naughton

I bumped into Barbara Naughton in O’Connell St. today as I was waiting for the 16A bus (to take me to Camden St. and from there to hail the 83 bus to Rathmines library to return some DVD’s).

I hadn’t seem Barbara since last year when we had both found ourselves sitting beside each other at a computer course class in Rainer St. just up from Guinness brewery. I had dropped out of the class because of wanting to concentrate on the Leaving Cert in English. As much as I enjoyed learning about computers, it was taking up a tremendous amount of time travelling to and fro to Thomas St. Adult Education Hub. Barbara was thoroughly efficient on the computers. I remember asking her why she needed to be in the class as she was already so competent. She said she was very interested in gaining a certificate that would stand her in good stead with respect of a future job.

We always went for tea and cake afterwards and had a good old chin-wag to boot in nearby Thomas St. the area of which is very working class and where one can soak up the down-to earth friendly atmosphere of the real Dubs.

On one of these occasions I recall Barbara laughing her socks off as she reminisced about the time a whole gang of survivors from Aislinn comprising of Rosemary, Emma, Olive, Barbara and myself, who all took off in my swanky Ford Focus car at a minutes notice for a drive to Brittas Bay. We had a whale of a time en-route. We sang at the tops of our voices to the rhythm of the Dublin mountain rolling winds that came in through the open car windows. The winds swiftly swished across our breathless excited faces, as we gave vent to all our pent-up tension and pain. Barbara had hollered out amidst the uproarious laughter that she wanted to take up singing professionally. When we finally arrived at Brittas Bay and headed for the sea, we were in such a state of frenzy that we let out our voices take them where they will with shattering loud shrieks. We had momentarily cast our lifelong worries to the sea-gods and asked why were we chosen to have had such miserable lives? It was so utterly therapeutic. I’d remembered a counsellor who told me to let rip in an open private intimate place like the top of Dublin mountain. Goldenbridge inmates went to Brittas Bay every summer, so it had a resonance with Olive and myself who had hailed from there.

We also loved to gaze around at all the amazing stalls in the infamous Liberties market.

I first knew barbara from when she frequented NOVA on Ormond Quay approximately a decade ago. She is such an articulate person. She suffered dreadfully in her past at the hands of her father.

It must have been overwhelming for her being in the company of throngs of survivors of childhood institutional abuse who were not only twice her age, but who were suffering with every conceivable traumatic symptomology in the medical book.

As Barbara was going though the courts at the time for her own childhood abuse trauma, albeit from a family member perspective as opposed to institutional child abuse.

Scannal – The Barbara Naughton Case

Barbara Naughton

On the 17th of April, 2002, an Irish political colossus fell upon his sword. The man in question was Bobby Molloy.

Daddy, Please Don't - Barbara Naughton

Molloy had been a TD in Galway West for the previous 37 years, during which time he had represented two political parties and served in a variety of government positions. He resigned his position as Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal because of the perception that he had attempted to interfere in a criminal case which was before the courts.

The case in question was the serial rape of Barbara Naughton by her father, Patrick Naughton, over a period a nine years. This crime, which occurred in the idyllic Connemara townland of Camus, was of a particularly horrific nature.

Reporter: Margaret Martin

Producer/Director: Seán Ó Méalóid

Click here to watch the programme…

Goldenbridge Childhood Song: ‘Gabhaim Molta Bride’. Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh. String Sisters.

Gabhaim Molta Bride
Ionmhain i le hEirinn
Ionmhain le gach tir i
Molaimis go leir i.

Lochrann geal na Laighneach
A’ soilsiu feadh na tire
Ceann ar oghaibh Eireann
Ceann na mban ar mine.

Tig an Geimhreadh dian dubh
A’ gearradh lena gheire
Ach ar La’le Bride
Gar duinn earrach Eireann.

as provided by Ellen Reed

I praise (or pay homage to) Saint Brigid
~-~ Ionmholta=Praiseworthy so maybe:
She is praised in Ireland or praiseworthy?
She is praiseworthy in all countries
Let us all praise her

The bright torch of Leinster
Shining throughout the country
Head (or role model) of Irish youth
Head (or role model) of our Smooth or Gentle or Submissive women

The house of winter is very dark
Cutting with its sharpness
But on Saint Brigid’s Day
Spring is near to us in Ireland or Spring is near to Ireland

Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh is the vocalist singing the second haunting ancient traditional Brigid song. I learned this exquisite song as a child in Goldenbridge in Sr. Fabian’s class. As with Mairead, the nun also hailed from the Gaelic speaking part of Donegal. I always wished that the nun, who like Mairead, also spoke fluent Irish, would have shared it with the children as a language.

Happy spring-time to all in the world out there who know me. I hope you all enjoy the very gifted cosmopolitan String Sisters folk group who are made up of various nationalities.

 The first song – Emma says:

Världens frälsare (Saviour of the world) is a chorale from the islands of Estonia where the Swedish language was introduced in the 13th century. This is one of many hymns collected from this area; sung by the descendants of the original settlers.

The second song – Mairead says:

Gabhaim Molta Bride. This is an old song of praise of one of the most famous Irish saints, St. Brigid. She was also a pre-Christian Celtic goddess who protected livestock. Her saint day is at the beginning of the month of February, and it heralds the springtime and the rejuvenation of lives.

The third instrumental piece – Annbjorg says:

Lusebus. In Norwegian, we call the small animals that sometimes live in our hair, and make us itch, “lus”. “Blus” is how we pronounce the music style blues. This is a luseblus.

String Sisters. H/t  on Nov 14, 2010

Brigid of Kildare.

I was talking to Máire Úna Ní Bheaglaoich the other day as she was playing her button accordion in freezing temperatures on Grafton St. Dublin. She reminded me not to forget Brigid, or Mary of the Gael – born in 452; died in 524 – on the 1st February. She adamantly proclaimed that she should be reclaimed, as B rightfully belonged to the pagans before Christianity arrived in Ireland. Incidentally, Brigid is honoured in Catholicism, Anglicanism and Orthodoxy. So with Máire Úna’s knowledge and reminder to hand I went in search of some pagan historical information. I found the following at none other than the Kildare Historical Society.

St Brigid incorporates elements of a much older tradition. When the Celts came to Ireland, maybe around 500 B.C., they brought with them their Druidic religion. They had many gods, who interacted with the people, sometimes for good, and sometimes for evil. Many of the gods and goddesses were associated with cult sites at particular places. The pagan religious framework of the Celts is not well documented, and what details we have, are mainly of the religious practices of the continental Celts as described by Roman writers, who most likely never visited Ireland. So their accounts would not relate directly to the practices in Ireland, though there must have been broad similarities. The pagan religious practices of the Irish Celts were not encouraged by the Christians, and when they did record them, they would not have wished to present a balanced picture, even if they fully understood the rituals. So we actually have very little knowledge of the religious practices and rituals of the Druidic religion. On the other hand, the early Christian Church in Ireland did not seem to associate the Druidic religion with cruel and barbarous practices, which would have to be eliminated entirely. The names, and many of the attributes, of the Celtic Irish gods were preserved in an oral tradition though the Gods themselves were reduced to the ranks of fairies; they were not gods, but they were greater than human, they were the Sidh or the Tuath de Danann.

Read the rest here.

In all my years in Goldenbridge I never once remember making St. Brigid’s infamous reed crosses. Yet, they are seemingly made in Irish schools everywhere. I recall seeing children in St. Claire’s school, Ballyjamesduff, create them, whilst  practicing with them proper pronounciation of gutteral German words. The latter of which I learned expertly as a young teenager residing in Switzerland.

Brigid is extraordinarily popular across the cultural and social divide. Even in Scotland. She is the patron saint of babies; blacksmiths; boatmen; cattle; chicken farmers; children whose parents are not married; children with abusive fathers; children born into abusive unions; Clan Douglas; dairymaids; dairy workers; fugitives; infants; Ireland; Leinster, mariners; midwives; milk maids; nuns; poets; poor; poultry farmers; poultry raisers; printing presses; sailors; scholars; travellers; watermen.

Fairies: The Banshee… et al


The bean-sidhe (woman of the fairy may be an ancestral spirit appointed to forewarn members of certain ancient Irish families of their time of death. According to tradition, the banshee can only cry for five major Irish families: the O’Neills, the O’Briens, the O’Connors, the O’Gradys and the Kavanaghs. Intermarriage has since extended this select list.

Whatever her origins, the banshee chiefly appears in one of three guises: a young woman, a stately matron or a raddled old hag. These represent the triple aspects of the Celtic goddess of war and death, namely Badhbh, Macha and Mor-Rioghain.)The Banshee She usually wears either a grey, hooded cloak or the winding sheet or grave robe of the unshriven dead. She may also appear as a washer-woman, and is seen apparently washing the blood stained clothes of those who are about to die. In this guise she is known as the bean-nighe (washing woman).

Although not always seen, her mourning call is heard, usually at night when someone is about to die. In 1437, King James I of Scotland was approached by an Irish seeress or banshee who foretold his murder at the instigation of the Earl of Atholl. This is an example of the banshee in human form. There are records of several human banshees or prophetesses attending the great houses of Ireland and the courts of local Irish kings. In some parts of Leinster, she is referred to as the bean chaointe (keening woman) whose wail can be so piercing that it shatters glass. In Kerry, the keen is experienced as a “low, pleasant singing”; in Tyrone as “the sound of two boards being struck together”; and on Rathlin Island as “a thin, screeching sound somewhere between the wail of a woman and the moan of an owl”.

The banshee may also appear in a variety of other forms, such as that of a hooded crow, stoat, hare and weasel – animals associated in Ireland with witchcraft.

 H/t  >The Banshee

I belong to the Kavanagh clan, so in essence the Banshee would/should forewarn me of impending death.

I remember as a child sometimes being told by some adults (who took me out of Goldenbridge at week-ends and at holiday-time up to the age of nine) to never pick up a dirty comb that was lying on Boyne street. It really does make sense on a hygienic level as to why I was told not to do that whilst out playing with other children. As at the time a favourite past-time of mine was playing music with a comb and silver paper, the latter of which was taken from a cigarette packet and was thus pressed against the comb, and then fiercely blown into by me. The humming into the silver paper and comb caused such a tickling sensation that made me want to scratch the lips intermittently. The music that emanated from the comb was all soaring and loud and uproariously joyous to the ears. It never ceased to amaze me. Nonetheless, the main reason as to why one should never have stooped to pick up a comb off the street was because the comb would have belonged to the Banshee who had long straggly dirty hair. One should never touch or play music with a dirty comb. Sounds laudable enough, doesn’t it?

I’ve been to lots of wakes in rural Ireland and have heard mourners talk of the Banshee having keened before the death of the loved ones. The cry is supposed to be like no other human cry and the experiences remain with them for forevermore.

Be warned: if you are of timid disposition please don’t read any further on some of the Irish Fairies below as they might just upset your equilibrium.

Dullahan  Pooka  Changelings  The Grogoch  Leprechauns  The Merrows

Update: I googled Banshee and was pleased to see that the myth about the comb is mentioned at wiki here.

This comb detail is also related to the centuries-old traditional romantic Irish story that, if you ever see a comb lying on the ground in Ireland, you must never pick it up, or the banshees (or mermaids — stories vary), having placed it there to lure unsuspecting humans, will spirit such gullible humans away.

O Madonna by Peter Reynosa.

As I was viewing The Fairies by William Allingham. See: last post here. I spotted this very unusual modern day literary poem nestled amongst the other videos in the batch, that one could also view besides one’s chosen one, at a later stage. It is done in an olde-worlde English style and is dedicated to an iconoclastic modern day rock singer, Madonna. I decided to put it here as the writing was too hard to read in the other tiny video. Besides I wanted to find out more.

I thus googled and discovered the following article by blackhorse10 at Fresno Famous dated 020212. In it s/he states that Peter Reynosa, who is a former graduate of Fresno State, has written a poem about Madonna in a traditonal style that attempts to do what no others have done; make a poem worthy of intellectual discussion about Madonna. Interesting and it could be a very lucrative and innovative idea. Good luck Peter Reynosa!

blackhorse10 @ FF continues…

The poem is written in 19th century style English Romanticism, even though Reynosa says it is not a Romantic poem. It is written with a lot of Old English words, but it deals with many contemporary issues. Actually, the poem is made up of four stanzas: the first stanza talks about her attacking tradition, the second stanzas mentions how she is the embodiment of feminism, the third stanza discusses her sexuality, and the fourth stanza praises her for her religious veiws and her msyticism. When asked why he chose to write a traditonal-style poem about Madonna, Reynosa responded: “I thought she was worthy of being in a great poem. And I love the traditional style of creating a poem. But even though it is written like a poem that was penned over two centuries ago it still deals with many modern issues that have confronted Madonna.” When queried what was a difficult part of writing “O Madonna”, Reynosa said: “Deciding on what to focus on. I don’t think her music or her acting or her fame is worth writing about, but I thought her going against tradition, being an icon for feminism, her sexuality, and her mystic views  were very important.” And the poem is very complimentary to Madonna, except when the poem discusses her sex life, here the poem both praises and is very critical of her.” Talking about Madonna’s sexuality was hard because I wanted to be honest. That is why I praise her for attacking Victorian hypocrisy and Puritan smugness, but am also critical of her for being a little too sexually shallow and trivial.

Read the rest here

More Goldenbridge Poetry: The Fairies by William Allingham.

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And grey cock’s feather!

Down along the rocky shore,
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain-lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

High on the hill-top
The old king sits;
He is now so old and grey
He’s nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
Columbkille he crosses,
On his stately journeys
From Slieve League to Rosses;
Or going up with music
On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen
Of the gay Northern Lights.
They stole little Bridget
For seven years long.
When she came down again
Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back,
Between the night and morrow;
They thought that she was fast asleep,
But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
Deep within the lakes,
On a bed of flag-leaves,
Watching till she wakes.

By the craggy hill-side,
Through the mosses bare
They have planted thorn trees
For pleasure here and there.
Is any man so daring
To dig up one in spite,
He shall find the thornies set
In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And grey cock’s feather!

We are into the month of February, which is celebration time for St. Brigid or Bridget fans In Ireland.

I remember learning this poem off by heart as a small child in Goldenbridge and truly loving the magic of the words and the fairies and the wee men. I would have loved to have been in the privileged position of being able to explore it with a teacher. I grew up believing in fairies and was so taken in with the story. I used to recite the words of the poem whilst simultaneously bouncing back and forth two, three and even four tennis-sized balls against the enclosed GB prison wall. Lots of us were experts at ball-playing and reciting anything we learnt in our respective internal or external classrooms.

The recitation by Lachlan Young lends itself beautifully to the feel, magic and imagery of the poem.

William Allingham hailed from Donegal. What a perfectly handsome person. Red hair runs deep in my ancestral veins. So I’m a natural lover of red-heads.