Ennis Industrial School for Roman Catholic Girls, Ennis, Co. Clare, Republic of Ireland
The Ennis Industrial School for Roman Catholic Girls was erected in 1875 at a cost of £4,500. However, it was not until 28 February 1880 that the premises, at Cook's Lane, Ennis, were officially certified for use . The School's capacity was initially set at 40 places but later the same year was increased to 80, with extensive building work being carried out to accommodate that number, including the provision of a dairy. The establishment was run by the Sisters of Mercy. As well as the Sisters' convent, the site also included St Brigid's Home Laundry and Our Lady's School Orphanage.
An inspection of the Industrial School in 1880 noted that dressmaking and other branches of needlework were taught. The girls cut out and made all the clothes they wore, and used the sewing machine. They washed and made up fine linen, and the older girls washed, dressed, and cared for the younger inmates. The staff comprised the manager, Sister M.J. Perry, and nine Sisters of Mercy, assisted by a dressmaker and three monitresses.
By 1881, the School's facilities included a bakehouse and a swimming bath with hot and cold water, adjoining the laundry. It was reported that once the swimming bath had come into use, skin diseases altogether disappeared from the inmates and the improvement in the health of the girls was most remarkable.
The School site is shown on the early 1900s map below.
The School closed in 1964. The Clare Museum now occupies the former convent block but little remains of the other buildings.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Mercy Congregational Archives, Catherine McAuley Centre, 23 Herbert Street, Dublin 2, D02 HD68, Ireland.
- Barnes, Jane Irish Industrial Schools 1868-1908 (1989, Irish Academic Press)
- Dunne, Joe The Stolen Child: A Memoir (2003, Marion Books)
- Rafferty, Mary and O'Sullivan, Eoin Suffer the Little Children: The Inside Story of Ireland's Industrial Schools (1999, New Island Books)
- Touher, Patrick Fear of the Collar: Artane Industrial School - My Extraordinary Childhood (1991, O'Brien Press)
- Tyrrell, Peter and Whelan, Diarmuid Founded on Fear: Letterfrack Industrial School (2006, Irish Academic Press)
- Wall, Tom The boy from Glin Industrial School (2015, Tom Wall)
- Mahood, Linda Policing Gender, Class and Family: Britain, 1850-1940 (1995, Univeristy of Alberta Press)
- Prahms, Wendy Newcastle Ragged and Industrial School (2006, The History Press)
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