The Home Babies

My Dad had often talked about what he called 'The Home Babies'. The nuns from the mother-and-baby home used to make him stop on his way to school to let the children cross the Dublin Road. They'd march two by two, clattering along in their hand-me-down hobnail boots. He remembered their distended bellies, their shorn hair. At school they were made to sit by themselves at the window so that the window could be opened to let out the smell and so that the other children didn't have to sit beside them.

Our town of Tuam was in the news recently for all the wrong reasons when it became a story around the world that nearly 800 children had died while at this home and that some of them were buried in unmarked graves in the grounds. I drive to and from work along this road most days and can't help thinking about the women who were forced out of sight behind the high walls of the home to hide their family's shame with their unwed pregnancies. What a despicable society it was that treated women and children like that.