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Connacht Tribune

Tuam residents are left to wonder what still lies undiscovered

Declan Tierney

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Around 80 residents in Tuam are now wondering if they are sitting on the remains of dead children that were buried in the mother and baby home in the town; and they fear that their properties could now be excavated as the next part of this horrific investigation begins.

Homeowners on Athenry Road in Tuam, whose houses were built on the site of the Tuam mother and baby home, are now concerned that they could be living over shallow graves. Some are anxious that the matter be investigated.

The houses at Athenry Road in Tuam were built around during the 1970s when the mother and baby home was long closed. The houses were constructed by Galway County Council at the time.

Following last weekend’s revelation that human remains were discovered at the Tuam home, local residents are now concerned that their properties may have been built over ‘unofficial’ graveyards.

The revelation of the discovery of the children’s remains does not come as a surprise to local residents who either knew or had their suspicions that kids were buried there.

Residents are now of the belief that they are sitting on houses that are graveyards to little children who died in the home. They now want to place memorials there as opposed to having their gardens dug up.

Former resident of the area, Mary Moriarty moved into her house in 1975 and said that the site at the time contained a hospital, church and an old house before they were demolished.

She said that she saw a young boy playing with a skull and stick. She asked to see it and knew it was that of a child of around eleven as it had a full set of teeth. He told her that he had found it in a tank where there were “loads of them”.

Ms Moriarty said that it was outside the graveyard, where the current excavations took place, and she saw bones down there. There was a subsidence in the ground and she went down into the hole.

She saw what she described as “little bundles” wrapped in cloth. She immediately thought they were children, who weren’t baptised, who were put there. “I thought they were still-born babies,” she said.

Ms Moriarty said that Galway County Council had “an awful cheek” to give planning permission to build houses there when they knew there was a structure underneath.

“For me, they should not have built houses on it. There are tombs all over the place”, she maintained. She believes that there are graves underneath the playground which was built on the Bon Secours site as well as underneath the houses. Galway County Council have insisted that this is not the case.

The facility in Tuam was run by the Bon Secours sisters and closed in 1961. It has become the subject of an intense Garda investigation at the moment. The vast majority of nuns who ran the facility are now dead.

But the residents of Athenry Road and Tubberjarlath in Tuam now fear that they may be living on the remains of children’s bodies. However, they do not want their properties excavated as part of an investigation.

“We want to leave things as they are. There is nothing to be gained by further digs,” another resident told The Connacht Tribune.

After the home for mothers and babies closed down in the early 1960s, the grounds were taken over by Galway County Council who later built houses there. It is estimated that there are around 80 houses built on the mother and baby home in Athenry Road in Tuam.

Following the weekend revelations, residents are now concerned that they may be living on properties where children have been buried. But the vast majority do not want their properties unearthed as part of the ongoing inquiry. They want them to be left alone.

Most of the residents in the general Athenry Road area of Tuam were not shocked by the findings of Galway County Council who revealed that they had discovered human remains at the site. For the past 45 years local residents either knew or had their suspicions that there were children buried on the site of the mother and baby home.

Many want the situation exposed while there are others who simply want the situation to be acknowledged and a plaque erected in the memory of those buried there.

Connacht Tribune

Time and history conferred character on this home

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The Hermitage, Ballymoe: on the market with a €425,000 guide price.

The Hermitage at Lisnageeragh, Ballymoe is a property on which time and history has conferred a character that no new property could mirror.

Overlooking 16.3 acres of rolling green fields which are included in the sale, this is indeed a unique house and comes to market with charming well maintained stone buildings. These could provide further family accommodation, holiday rentals or craft studios.

The front hall has a beautiful, curved window and leads to two reception rooms on either side of the house. The sitting room has an open fireplace with a black cast iron surround and wooden floors which gleam from years of care and reflect the light coming from two large windows. To the right-hand side, the dining room also has an attractive bay window and an oil-fired stove and it is indeed the perfect social /entertaining space.

To the rear of the house the kitchen is a classic example of a successful marriage of the old and the new. Bespoke shaker style units combine perfectly with modern recessed lighting, attractive tiling and includes a pantry area to one side. A good-sized bedroom and adjacent bathroom complete the downstairs of the main house.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms one of which has an en suite shower. The main bedroom is a delightful space which leads to another small room, a perfect nursery or walk in wardrobe.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

A time when we learned once more that no man is an island

Francis Farragher

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Country singer Dolly Parton getting the jab: she sang about it and part-funded research on the vaccine.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of the oft-repeated pub jokes whenever the price drink was increased, whether it by Finance Ministers or publicans who felt that their margins were being whittled away, was that: “As long as it doesn’t get scarce, we’ll be happy enough.”

Who could have believed though in the first month or two of 2020 that this scenario would unfold (at least in pubs), where the opportunity to meet friends – and the odd ‘auld enemy’ too – over a couple of pints in the local bar would be snatched away from us?

We probably have learned to adapt to the reality of the pandemic and most of us will remember the real sense of fear and constriction that pervaded our every word and action early last year.

2020 was the universal version of ‘annus horribilis’ – the term made famous by Queen Elizabeth in 1992 when royal marriages started to collapse like cards houses in the breeze.

Being of rural stock, I loved the little video earlier this from country music icon, Dolly Parton, who adapted a verse of her famous Jolene song to mark her first shot of the Moderna vaccine (she also donated $1 million to its research) in a very sincere effort to try and encourage the general public to get inoculated.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

I’m begging of you not to hesitate,

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

Cause when you’re dead that’s a bit too late.”

A year before that, times were indeed very strange across Ireland and indeed the world. I remember on the Sunday night before St. Patrick’s Day when a sense of incredulity greeted the news in my own local that ‘a lot of the pubs in Galway city were closing down’. Surely, this couldn’t happen in our own little watering hole in the sticks, but it did.

Michael Karmen’s soundtrack from the Band of Brothers series – a wonder piece of music even to my untrained ear – will always remind me of that early Spring period of lockdown in 2020.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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€4.5m worth of property sold during online event

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This detached house at Seacrest in Knocknacarra attracted a "staggering" level of interest.

More than €4.5 million worth of sales were recorded at the O’Donnellan & Joyce auction last week, where 350 people had pre-registered to bid on the 40 properties which went under the hammer.

80% of the properties sold during the auction or following negotiations immediately afterwards.

Among the properties sold at the auction were:

106 Seacrest, Knocknacarra, Galway. Guiding at €250,000 due to the extent of renovation and upgrade works required, the auctioneers were staggered at the level of interest in this 4-bed detached house.

Siobhra Hennessy, Senior Auction Co-Ordinator, said: “There is an increasing demand for city centre homes in need of repair. Couples want to put their own stamp on a property and often look for properties similar to this.”

Bidding commenced at €250,000 but quickly rose to over €350,000. After intense bidding from a number of internet and telephone bidders, the sale price of €364,000 was reached and the deal was done.

192 Bohermore, Galway. A 2-bed terraced house which attracted great attention, with many enquiries and bidders pre-registering. The house needs complete restoration and modernisation works but obviously appealed to a wide audience. It guided at €120,000, but sold for €179,000, despite the great amount of work required. Again, this is an example of a near-derelict building that offered great potential.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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