It was a great week with Listowel bathed in glorious sunshine, huge crowds, great racing, fashion, glorious expectation of another All Ireland Football victory; it was roses roses all the way for race week 2019.
Here are the first of my photos. from Wednesday. I am slowly sorting myself out after the hectic week.
What I’m Reading
I’m reading this book, Orphan Train and I’m learning about something that I, and I’m sure many American and Irish people didn’t know about.
“The Orphan Train Movement was a supervised welfare program that transported orphaned and homeless children from crowded Eastern cities of the United States to foster homes located largely in rural areas of the Midwest. The orphan trains operated between 1854 and 1929, relocating about 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, abused, or homeless children.
Three charitable institutions, Children’s Village (founded 1851 by 24 philanthropists), the Children’s Aid Society (established 1853 by Charles Loring Brace) and later, the New York Foundling Hospital, endeavored to help these children. The institutions were supported by wealthy donors and operated by professional staff. The three institutions developed a program that placed homeless, orphaned, and abandoned city children, who numbered an estimated 30,000 in New York City alone in the 1850’s, in foster homes throughout the country. The children were transported to their new homes on trains that were labeled “orphan trains” or “baby trains”. This relocation of children ended in the 1920’s with the beginning of organized foster care in America.” (Wikipedia)
Some of these children were Irish. Their families had come to the U.S. seeking a better life or fleeing famine and sometimes they fell on hard times and couldn’t support their children or some of them died and there was no one to care for the children.
The scheme was well intentioned and many children found happy homes but many did not. Some became no better than slaves or indentured servants in their new homes.
Some who came through this system told of how the train would stop in a town on its journey and prospective “parents” would come out to see what children were on offer. Babies were easy enough to rehome, but older children were often separated from their siblings. There are tales of towns where the children were put up on a stage and a kind of auction held for them. Apparently this is where the term “up for adoption” comes from. If they didn’t find a home in the town they were put back on the train and they tried again in the next town.
Most of the children who were relocated were white. Most had no birth certificate and poor enough knowledge of who they were or where they were from.
The Orphan Train Heritage Society was founded in 1986 to preserve the history of this scheme.
The old people used to have a prayer for every occasion. Some prayers were called urnaí, a kind of charm as well as a prayer. This is one of those. It was said passing a graveyard. The gist of it is; You were once like us. We will one day be like you. May we all flourish in God’s kingdom
Ag dul thar Reilige
Go mbeannaí dhíobh, a fhoireann,
Go mbeannaí dhíobh is Muire,
Bhí sibhse tráth mar sinne,
Beimidne fós mar sibhse,
Go rabhamar uile faoi mhaise ag Rí mhór and Cruinne