Authors: Mavis Arnold and Heather Laskey
Children of the Poor Clares
On Tuesday 23 February 1943 a fire broke out in a County Cavan orphanage ran by the enclosed order of Poor Clare nuns killing thirty-five children and an adult. The horrific tragedy was widely covered by Irish newspapers and an inquiry was launched into how such a terrible thing could have happened. The report's findings stated that the loss of life occurred due to faulty directions being given, lack of fire-fighting training, and an inadequate rescue and fire-fighting service. Many local people felt however that the inquiry was a cover up, that more lives would have been saved if the first reaction of the nuns hadn't been to avoid themselves or the girls being seen in their nightclothes.
The tragedy led to questions as to how an enclosed order of nuns came to run an orphanage in the first place when few of them had experience of childcare and were more concerned with the discipline of the religious life. Here are the stories of the children who once lived in St Joseph's orphanage.
Back to Catalogue Home
[ Appletree Press | Contact Us ]