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In spite of the merger, Killala and Achonry continued to operate its own diocesan registry as a distinct and independent entity for a further 25 years until the unification of the two diocesan registries under the terms of the Ecclesiastical Courts and Registries Ireland Act And even when the registries were united thereafter the papers reveal how both Tuam and Killala and Achonry maintained various levels of autonomy and independent decision making, each with its own separate synods, councils and education structures, as well as printing separate annual reports until the latter half of the 20th century.

The first nine of these are mostly volumes of the pre and post Disestablishment provincial registry, commencing with a set of title books, the earliest of which is dated ; followed by a good run of subscription rolls of clergy from onwards, and a solid run of visitations, which like the title books and rolls before them bring researchers back into the 18th century.


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The earliest visitation returns were ordered to be returned by the Most Revd Joseph Dean Bourke, the archbishop of Tuam —94, who presumably commissioned these to get an early picture of parishes, churches and glebe houses making up his province at the commencement his appointment in Adhering to the united post registry arrangement with all the places in the three dioceses together, these papers have been maintained in alphabetical order, and give a good flavour of diocesan administration of individual parish units including documents relating to clergy nominations, installations and retirements and those relating to property consecrations of churches, formations of curacies and parochial districts, glebe inspection reports, and property rentals and sales.

Given the arrangement by place, this section is likely to prove very useful to local historians but it should also be consulted by others wishing to get a sense of diocesan oversight of local clergy, property, financial matters and a host of other issue.


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In most cases, there is a box for each individual place covered, and collectively the section covers the period from to The data available for the parish of Dunmore for example gives a flavour of the richness, , including the presentation of the Revd Francis Browne — to the rectory of same, and an extensive set of accounts some detailing tithe payments made by individual named tenants, giving the townlands and payments involved in the transactions, c.

Maxwell in June The Killala and Achonry section is further enhanced by a most revealing run of returns made to government from onwards that includes invaluable records documenting the diocesan response to the famine that afflicted many parts of north Connaught, especially Mayo, in the early s. Regrettably a feature of the Archive that is shared by many other diocesan collections is the absence of much episcopal correspondence or other personal papers created during the course of the careers of bishops and archbishops.

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However, the TKA collection has nevertheless thrown up the odd gems the items of Archbishop McGrath and Bishop Vershoyle above being cases in point, while a letter signed Thos. Writing from the Hotel Byron, Villeneuve, Canton de Vaud, the renowned Swiss health resort, where Plunket was on tour with his wife and daughters, on 2 Sept. The story of the transfer of the archive to the RCB Library has been, as with many diocesan collections, an evolutionary and drawn out one, and much has been learned from the process of arranging and cataloguing this collection.

With such vast quantities of records and an abundance of local officers responsible for same, there has been an inevitable haphazard pattern in relating to record—keeping with successive appointments of senior diocesan officials, not least the registrars, but also archdeacons, secretaries and others, records changing from one generation to the next, and with papers being moved from deaneries, rectories and elsewhere accompanying the relevant office—holders.

Grant — who was dean of Tuam and rector of Cong —, and also served as archdeacon of the diocese from Dean Grant was encouraged and assisted by Mrs Brigid Clesham, a professional archivist based in Cong, whose interventions at local level helped to put some shape on a large and by then unwieldly accumulation of records and for making early lists and overseeing the safe transfer of several collections of the diocesan records between and Early and invaluable attempts to group and list the growing and organic collection of diocesan records were made both by Mrs Clesham and Dr Refausse, however with intermittent new caches of papers from different locations, the job became more complicated and needed focused archival attention.

Arising from ongoing discussions about a records management programme for the Church as a whole, and using the Archive as a pilot project, the Library was allocated a specific fund by the central Church to engage the services of Arcline to systematically arrange the collection, building up a comprehensive picture of the record—keeping and archiving requirements of the diocese as they worked.


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Two archivists Alicia Cooney followed by Ciara Daly carried out this work from June and again in early , supervised by the Librarian and Archivist, who also completed the work on the Killala and Achonry part of the collection. Thus spanning the course of 35 years, and involving several generations of professional archivists and librarians, it has truly been a team effort to at last share the detailed catalogue list that has been long—awaited by the wider research community.

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Some cookies are necessary for us to manage how our website behaves while other optional, or non-necessary, cookies help us to analyse website usage. Health problems were noted among several of the home's children, with some described as "wasted," "wizened" and "delicate".

An inspector described then month-old John Desmond as a "miserable, emaciated child with a voracious appetite". The two-day inspection also revealed the building was overcrowded, housing 90 more residents than it was designed to accommodate. Like most single mothers, Bridget Dolan had to leave the home 12 months after giving birth - without her baby. She got a job as a housekeeper and evidence suggests she sent five shillings a month to the home to help provide for her child.

In the blunt, insensitive language of the era, it also describes John as a "congenital idiot". Anna wants to know why her brother, who was born weighing a healthy 8lb 9oz, was both hungry and "emaciated" just over a year later. She fears malnutrition and neglect were a significant factor, but despite an inspector noting his ill health, Anna was told there are no medical records for John. The informant on his death certificate was a long-term resident of the home who had no medical qualifications.

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Anna does not know how her mother ended up in the same difficult position three years later, but Bridget was pregnant with her second son when she was readmitted to the home in Certificates show William was born in a Galway hospital on 21 May that year and was baptised four days later.

According to the order of nuns who ran the Tuam home, the Sisters of Bon Secours, William died on 3 February , but there is no death certificate on record. The only available documentation is a note in the nuns' ledger which said that William "died" - it does not provide any reason or medical explanation. Strangely, the nuns' ledger also showed a different date of birth, stating William was born on 20 April The inconsistencies left Anna questioning whether William may have been adopted, and if there is any chance he is still alive.

She reported William as a "missing person" because his death was not registered.

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She also asked them to investigate the circumstances of John's death. Shortly after Anna found out about her brothers' existence, she was put in contact with the amateur historian Catherine Corless, whose painstaking research into death and burial records helped uncover the mass grave at Tuam. The pair brought their concerns about baby burials to the local papers in , but frustrated by its lack of impact in the media, Anna turned to the Irish Mail on Sunday. She told her story anonymously to reporter Alison O'Reilly, and within days Tuam was making headlines around the world.

The controversy led the government to set up the Mother and Baby Homes Inquiry, which by confirmed significant quantities of human remains had been found in an unmarked grave in Tuam. In its final report on Tuesday, the inquiry said there was an "appalling level of infant mortality" in mother and baby homes, concluding about 9, children died in the 18 institutions it investigated.

In a statement, the Sisters of Bon Secours offered their "profound apologies" to all the women and children who lived at the Tuam home, their families and the people of Ireland. For all that, we are deeply sorry. Irish PM to apologise over mother-and-baby homes.

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Timeline: Irish mother and baby homes controversy. Irish PM says mother and baby homes leak 'regrettable'.

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Mother and baby home 'chamber of horrors'. Anna has spent the past eight years trying to confirm their fate.