Cover. Paper doll cutouts representing the 796 babies and children who died at the Mother and Baby Home in Tuam hang on the rails of the children’s playground at Galway’s Eyre Square at a June 11, 2014, public vigil organized by Galway Pro-Choice.
This image appeared in the Connacht Tribune on March 10, 2017, accompanying two articles by Declan Tierney, 26–27. Tierney’s articles—“Residents are left to wonder what still lies undiscovered” and “Strange silence falls on scene of shame”—describe a spontaneous memorial made of flowers, toys, signs, and letters at the entrance to the site of the one-time Tuam Mother and Baby Home, and the fear of homeowners in Tuam that their houses may be built “on the remains of dead children.” These 2017 articles, with the 2014 photograph, appeared one week after the “Commission of Inquiry into the treatment of babies in the Tuam home” confirmed “the . . . discovery of human remains at the Tuam Mother and Baby Home.” © Connacht Tribune.
Figure 0.1. “The ‘spider web’ of Tuam could touch anywhere.” Poster with the words “Bury Our Babies with Dignity,” surrounded by stuffed animals, commemorating the remains of 796 “Tuam Babies.” This photograph of a memorial at the gates of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home site ran in the Irish Examiner with Donal O’Keefe’s article “The ‘spider web’ of Tuam could touch anywhere” on Friday, July 27, 2018. The photo’s caption reads, “Sophia Dilleen, 18-month-old granddaughter of historian Catherine Corless plays in a display by local people of Tuam.” Catherine Corless’s research initially broke the story of the “lost” infants and children at the Tuam Mother and Baby Home and elsewhere in Ireland, whose often preventable deaths over several decades went unmourned and unmarked in twentieth-century Ireland. O’Keefe’s article describes an apparent attempt by the Irish government to set up a “false equivalence between those who want justice for the Tuam Babies, and those who would rather see the past covered up” that “backfired spectacularly.” © Eamon Ward.
Figure i.1. Homeless. Held by the Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo, Australia, Thomas Kennington’s Homeless (1890) is representative of the social realist paintings for which the artist is best remembered. Kennington (1856–1916) conjoined realism and melodrama to depict urban children who are emphatically both impoverished and, with their delicate porcelain complexions, ideologically English. Kennington produced a series of such social realist paintings in the last fifteen years of the nineteenth century, a period that marked a new homogenization of the English into a single, “white” race (Makdisi 2014), thereby both contributing to and visually archiving this period’s new and increasingly politically potent sentimentalization of children. © Bendigo Art Gallery.
Figure i.2. “A dream of green fields.” Punch, or the London Charivari. August 10, 1904. The cartoon’s caption reads “The Children’s Country Holiday’s Fund is in great need of assistance. The Honorable Treasurer is the Earl of Arran, 18 Buckingham Street, W.C.I.” The records of the Children’s Country Holiday’s Fund, established in 1884, are held by the London Metropolitan Archives. The fund’s purpose was to provide periods of more than two weeks away from London for “worthy” poor children. The cartoon’s caption identifies Arthur Gore, 1868–1958, sixth earl of Arran and Anglo-Irish peer, as the fund’s treasurer, while the figure of Punch—the famously amoral spokesperson for England’s purported national ethos—kindly directs the attention of “Dame Charity” to two homeless London children who are dreaming of “green fields.” In addition to using the children’s painful destitution counterintuitively to emphasize the British nation’s compassion and generosity toward its most vulnerable constituents, the cartoon inverts the comparative positions of British and Irish children. The fields of the children’s dreams might, at a glance, be taken as a visual reference to Ireland’s depopulated post-Famine countryside—an effect the cartoon’s title underscores—and an area of the United Kingdom that had not, in fact, been in any sense health-sustaining for children over a matter of centuries. Moreover, as these two children are evidently homeless, they would not have been eligible for Dame Charity’s largesse: the benefits distributed by the Children’s Country Holiday’s Fund took the form of discounts and vouchers, with some balance to be paid by the parents of all “worthy” recipients, presumably to encourage and reward self-sufficiency. © Punch Cartoon Library/Topfoto.
Figure i.3. “Women of Britain say—‘Go!’.” A propaganda poster exemplifying the definitive (if often subliminal) role played by children in the powerfully gendered polarization that typified British WWI propaganda. © The British Library Board (World War One propaganda collection).
Figure i.4. “Orpen’s war exam.” Illustration by William Orpen (1878–1931) contained in a letter from the artist to Mrs. St. George with a sketch of the artist undergoing his military medical examination upon induction into the British military (March 1916). Ink and pencil on paper. Unframed: 22.8 × 15.3 cm. In this drawing, Orpen satirically undermines the masculinity of its subject by envisioning the rite of passage that defined masculine normativity for his generation—entering the military—as an occasion for a military doctor’s discovery of some outlandish genital abnormality, which is left to the viewer’s imagination. Orpen further visually undermines the normative claim of masculinity by depicting the inductee’s naked body, seen from behind, as the body of a child. Thus, the military doctor’s explosive reaction is comically suggestive of a jouissance contingent on a subliminal erotoscopic investment in the sexuality of all male inductees, constituted as boys, on the part of not only the doctor but also the larger, purportedly heteronormative British patriarchy that the doctor represents. Graves Collection of William Orpen Letters, Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Ireland. NGI.7830.302. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.
Figure i.5. The Daily Herald, now “dimly remembered as a forerunner for the disgraceful The Sun,” originally “began life as a daily strike bulletin when the London print unions struck for a forty-eight-hour working week” (Coates 2009). The image “True to tradition” responds to a Dublin workers’ march on September 21, 1913, that was attacked by the RUC, and the drafting of troops on September 26 to protect property and deliver coal to government bodies. It also captures the increasing centrality of children in what was becoming a society-wide ideological-moral crisis concerning Dublin business owners’ overt use of starvation to bust nascent unionizing efforts on the part of Jim Larkin’s ITGWU. The October 7, 1913 cover of the Daily Herald is captioned, in full, “[Dissatisfied with the pace at which the theory of industrialization was progressing among the women and children of Dublin, the Capitalists have called up their Police Reserves to finish with their batons the work begun by Disease, Filth, Rotten Tenements, and the other educational forces of Fat. In fewer words, the police have bludgeoned women and children in Dublin.] Fat (calling up its Police Reserves in its attack in Dublin): ‘Remember, Gentlemen, the flag we fight under—Women and Children first!’” © Mirrorpix/British Newspaper Archive.
Figure i.6. “Food kitchen in Liberty Hall.” Illustration by William Orpen. In November 1913, the Irish Citizen Army took Liberty Hall as its headquarters. The question of starving children posed difficulties for both sides, as both the employers who had locked out their workers and workers who refused to sign a pledge not to join the ITGWU were, from a public relations standpoint, potentially blameworthy. On September 27, the first of a series of food shipments from England, with its attendant scenes of hungry children waiting on the quay, exacerbated public anxieties. The Irish Catholic Church visibly stepped up efforts to appear more benevolent, with a spate of newspaper photos and publicity pieces depicting nuns feeding children, and young volunteers gathered for that purpose. After the failure of Dora Montefiore’s “Save the Dublin Kiddies” campaign in late October, Constance Markiewicz and Maud Gonne oversaw the Liberty Hall soup kitchen, where trade unionists and their supporters labored frenetically, as Orpen’s drawing vividly illustrates, to feed locked-out workers and their families. This image was reproduced in Orpen’s 1924 memoir, Stories of Old Ireland and Myself (London: Williams and Norgate). Photo duplication courtesy of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.
Figure i.7. Priest saves “Irish Child” from the shark, “Socialism,” by pulling the child aboard a currach-like boat christened The Faith. In this allegorical illustration, workers’ children are transformed into a single sentimentalized “Irish Child,” and that child’s safety is reduced to one zero-sum issue: the Church’s absolute control over the child. This absolute ecclesiastical control, in turn, is legitimated by the self-evident danger posed by the large, toothy socialist shark that lurks in the waters surrounding The Faith. This image reframes Irish society as a Manichean space, locked in a moral struggle between Catholicism and socialism, with Irish children’s eternal souls as the stakes. This cartoon appeared in the Sunday Independent on October 26, 1913, the same day on which the Independent gleefully depicted the arrest of Dora Montefiore and the “rescue” of numerous Irish children by Dublin police, clergy, and lay Catholics. As Lucy McDiarmid recounts the chaotic event, “over a period of several days, beginning on October 22, outraged priests and angry mobs recruited by the Ancient Order of Hibernians grabbed many of the children from the hands of . . . social workers . . . pulled others off boats . . . or off trains . . . attacked anyone attempting to leave Dublin with a child, and marched triumphantly along the quays singing ‘Faith of our Fathers’ after each day’s successful ‘rescues’” (2005, 125). Photo credit: TheJournal.ie (with permission of the National Library of Ireland).
Figure i.8. “Saving Dublin children.” Paired photos from the October 26 Sunday Independent, featuring Dora Montefiore’s arrest, side by side with two priests escorting an emaciated boy, named in the caption as George Burke, “rescued” from Montefiore’s efforts to prevent his imminent starvation. We have been unable to find a legible version of the captions under the original photographs, first reprinted in McDiarmid’s The Irish Art of Controversy (2005). Certainly, we cannot possibly ascertain the fate of George Burke, the right-hand photograph’s emblematic rescued child—one of nearly three hundred children prevented from taking advantage of the “holiday” with families in England that Montefiore had arranged. There is, however, one compelling bit of evidence suggestive of this child’s fate. We know from McDiarmid’s extensive research in Archbishop Walsh’s papers (2005, xvi) that Walsh had received private assurances from Montefiore herself, and subsequently “from Catholics in Liverpool,” that the children would not be proselytized (126). Walsh’s ostensible fears for these children (to wit, that the children might be converted to Protestantism or led astray by nonbelievers) were thus documentably spurious, even in their own terms. What we do know is that at the end of October, these children and their families had at least three winter months of worsening conditions still ahead and that Archbishop of Dublin William Walsh, who had firmly established himself as the one person in Ireland with the moral clout to intercede on their behalf, cared only that they had been prevented from boarding the ship to Liverpool. © INM (Independent News and Media).
Figure i.9. A scene from the play Rebel in the Soul, staged April 12–May 21, 2017, at the NYC Irish Repertory Theatre. Playwright, Larry Kirwan. Director, Charlotte Moore. Actors shown are Patrick Fitzgerald as Dr. Noël Browne, and John Keating as Archbishop John Charles McQuaid. Kirwan’s play uses the late 1940s–early 1950s “Mother and Child Scheme” controversy to focalize midcentury tensions over Ireland’s defining values, staged as an evolving confrontation among three competing, iconic figures for Irish nationalist Catholic morality: the Catholic socialist, Noël Browne; onetime IRA volunteer and human rights advocate, Séan MacBride; and the archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid. On the grounds that state-funded health care for mothers and children might entail treatment or guidance that would violate Catholic social teaching, the Irish Catholic hierarchy was willing to accept Ireland’s high child mortality rate rather than cede control over any aspect of women’s and children’s bodies or lives. © Carol Rosegg.
Figure i.10. “State of shame: Report on schools reveals litany of abuse over 70 years.” This figure appears in two articles run in the Irish Independent in response to the Ryan Report. Released on May 20, 2009, the Ryan Report represented a compendious and thoroughly damning investigation into child abuse in all forms occurring in Irish institutions from 1936 on. In the May 21, 2009, Metro Edition, the Independent ran this image of unnamed boys in an unidentified midcentury industrial school under the apt headline, “State of Shame.” On May 25, 2009, the newspaper reran the image on page 14 with a commentary piece by Mary Kenny entitled, “Our decent society was in total denial about child sex abuse.” Kenny’s piece takes the position its title would imply: physical punishment, including severe beating, was normal and accepted in Ireland and most other societies and should be carefully distinguished from sexual abuse, which went unaddressed because it was unthinkable. The image for which we were able to obtain permission ran with Kenny’s piece, but we have used the headline from the newspaper’s first response. © INM (Independent News and Media).
Figure i.11. “The introduction of internment . . . for fourteen-year-old girls.” Martyn Turner’s celebrated rejoinder to the “Girl X” case derisively compares the Irish state’s flagrant indifference to the rights of a pregnant female juvenile to its erstwhile concern for the human rights of the Northern Irish teenagers and young men interned by the British in the early years of the Troubles. Cartoon of fourteen-year-old Girl X, “interned” on the island of Ireland. The full caption reads, “17th February 1992: the introduction of internment in Ireland . . . for fourteen year old girls.” This cartoon was reprinted in the Irish Times on December 1, 2018, accompanying Diarmaid Ferriter’s retrospective piece entitled “The multilayered genius of Martyn Turner.” © Martyn Turner.
Figure i.12. “Credo that protected a monster” is the title of an article by Eamon Dunphy that swims around Wendy Shea’s illustration of an amoeboid Brendan Smyth preparing to incorporate his next victim. Appearing in the Sunday Independent on October 16, 1994, this piece is representative of the media furor that followed the October 6, 1994 airing of the UTV Counterpoint episode “Suffer the Children.” On April 23, 1993, the RUC had issued an extradition order for Smyth, who had been tried and found guilty of sexually abusing four siblings in Belfast in 1991. Smyth was harbored in the Republic through the end of 1993; he was extradited to Northern Ireland in early 1994, and on January 21, 1994, he pled guilty to seventeen counts of child sexual abuse. In “Suffer the Children,” UTV journalist Chris Moore interviewed on camera multiple victims of Smyth’s extensive, decades-long career of abuse. On November 17, 1994, Irish Attorney General Harry Welehan, who had stonewalled Smyth’s extradition, resigned from office, as did the Irish taoiseach, Albert Reynolds. © Wendy Shea.
Figure i.13. “Shadow of a trauma.” David Rooney’s drawing of a child in bed, cowering under a looming shadow, illustrates Tim Ryan’s article “Shadow of a trauma over Dail’s holidays.” Irish Press, Saturday, July 2, 1994. Above the image is the headline “Another X Case.” As the Irish Dail was adjourning for summer recess, a court case had just been heard in camera concerning “a ward of the court . . . now in the same position as the original child [Girl X].” Ryan concedes that the pregnant ward of the state had, perhaps unsurprisingly, had a “change of mind,” staving off an immediate scandal. He uses this close call, however, to point out that the February 1992 X case, precipitated when gardai ordered the parents of an impregnated fourteen-year-old rape victim to cancel a scheduled abortion in England, could recur at any time. The taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, who “first heard of the original X case” on the day he was elected, and his attorney general, Harry Whelehan, who “subsequently got a High Court injunction preventing [X] from travelling outside the country for an abortion,” Ryan suggests, have good reason to fear the next juvenile rape victim, whose terrifying shadow already looms over their summer vacation plans. © David Rooney.
Figure i.14. “Pretty twisted stuff. It’s almost Kafkaesque.” The subheading of this piece is taken from the full text of a speech by Fine Gael TD John Deasy, delivered as part of the March 7, 2017, Dail debate over the Grace foster abuse scandal. This illustration heads the text of Deasy’s speech on a full page of coverage that also includes Daniel McConnell’s commentary, “If we do nothing, then we become the abusers,” and Fiachra Ó Cionnaith’s “Inquiry terms of reference scrapped after charged debate.” Rather than an instance of dramatic rhetoric, the page’s headline quote was, in fact, a literal explanation to the Dail of the legal implications of its proposed “terms of reference,” which would have excluded from the inquiry under debate forty-six people with disabilities from the same foster home where for two decades, from the age of twelve, “Grace” had been documentably, spectacularly abused. Deasy, working in tandem with Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness, supplied detailed evidence of senior health officials’ consistent efforts to hide rather than redress serial abuses over the course of a three-decade, ongoing “foster care sex scandal.” The abuse itself had been documented in the 2012 Conal Devine Report and in the Resilience Ireland Report, but at the time of the 2017 Dail debate, the Health Service Executive had delayed the two reports’ publication for five years, citing garda advice. © Irish Examiner/Getty Images stock photo.
Figure 3.1. “Ann Lovett: Death at the grotto.” Granard grotto of the Virgin Mary where fifteen-year-old Ann Lovett and her newborn infant died, January 31, 1984. Lovett’s appalling death in childbirth at the feet of the Blessed Virgin occurred only months prior to the beginning of the Kerry Babies scandal, on April 14, 1984, when a newborn baby found dead on the White Strand, near Cahersiveen, launched what would become an obsessive, sensational investigation into the private life of a woman who could not possibly have given birth to the White Strand infant. Together these two major child sex scandals created the first cracks in what Tom Inglis (1998) terms the Catholic Church’s “moral monopoly” over Irish society, placing new pressure on hegemonic definitions of “innocence” and “child.” This photograph of the Granard grotto first appeared in the Irish Times on January 31, 2004, accompanying an article by Rosita Boland marking the twentieth anniversary of Ann Lovett’s death, and was reprinted on January 31, 2017. The 2017 caption reads, “From the archive: Thirty three years ago, a fifteen-year-old girl in Granard, Co. Longford, died giving birth in secret.” Photo credit: Brenda Fitzsimons/courtesy of the Irish Times. © Irish Times.
Figure 5.1. “The Battle of Soldiers Hill.” The Meath County Council first proposed the M3 Motorway in 1999. By 2001, a route through the Tara-Skyrne Valley had been decided on. Resistance to the M3 Motorway built along with public awareness, with protesters establishing a long-term encampment at Tara by 2006, as more and more heretofore unknown archaeological finds were discovered directly in the path of the motorway. On July 18, 2007, garda and construction workers set out to drive away or actively to remove protesters encamped at the Tara Solidarity Vigil. In the course of an extended confrontation on Soldiers Hill between protesters and garda, construction workers, and machinery, seven activists were arrested, and many more were injured. The motorway was opened on June 4, 2010. Woodcut: “Hill of Tara 18 July AD 2007.” Artist, Pixie.
Figure 5.2. “Names of 796 Tuam babies written on white sheets.” This photograph appeared in TheJournal.ie on August 17, 2018, accompanying an article by Ronan Duffy entitled, “Names of 796 Tuam babies written on white sheets and brought to Galway church.” Duffy’s article publicizes a vigil to be held in Tuam on August 26, 2018, to include Catherine Corless and relatives and survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home, commemorating the lost children of Tuam. The vigil was in support of the call by Corless, relatives, and survivors for a proper burial for the “Tuam babies,” whose abandoned remains had been found in a disused sewage tank. As Catholic Ireland prepared for a visit from the pope, nine Galway women wrote onto white sheets the names and ages of the 796 infants and children and 10 adult women known to have died at the Tuam Mother and Baby Home, and sewed the sheets to a fence at the grave site. The caption reads, “The sheets used in the project were sourced from local hotels, as a symbol of the work the women kept in religious institutions were forced to do.” © Erin Darcy.
Figure 7.1. Photograph of the field in the foreground of St Ita’s Hospital, Portrane, Co. Dublin. This image appeared in a photo essay in the June 8, 2014, Daily Mail UK titled “Eerie photographs reveal abandoned bedrooms and living areas of Victorian-era asylum that was still being used until last year .” The overview for the photo essay reads, in part, “In 1895 Portrane Lunatic Asylum was the most expensive building in Ireland paid for by the British government. The hospital had an initial budget of £200,000 but this rose to £300,000 by the time it was finally completed. The facility was seen as being at the forefront of mental health care when it was opened in 1903.” © Media Drum World/Obscuraprints.
Figure 7.2. Photograph of a hallway in the abandoned St Ita’s. This depiction of an abandoned hallway in St Ita’s Hospital appeared in a photo essay in the June 8, 2014, Daily Mail UK titled “Eerie photographs reveal abandoned bedrooms and living areas of Victorian-era asylum that was still being used until last year .” The caption for this photo reads, “The hospital was divided between men and women, and then it was further divided into four further sections depending on the severity of the mental illness involved.” © Media Drum World/Obscuraprints.