The Mother & Baby Home or “The Home” was originally known as a workhouse (a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment). It was built in 1841 under the Irish Poor Laws. Like many other workhouses, it had been designed by Poor Law Commissioners' architect George Wilkinson to house up to 800 people. The workhouse opened in 1846, during the famine. The building had dormitories, an infirmary and an "idiot's ward". There were sheds built to house extra inmates and fever victims. A fever hospital was later constructed close by. After the Famine was over there was still extreme poverty in Ireland so the workhouse continued to house the poor and homeless for more than sixty years.
In 1916, British troops took over the workhouse evicted the occupants and turned it into a barracks. During the Civil War in 1923 there were eight IRA Volunteers executed at the workhouse. In later years when it was taken over by the nuns a monument was erected in their memory.
Between 2011 and 2013, Catherine Corless,a local historian from Tuam worked tirelessly researching the whereabouts of the children that was in the Tuam Mother & Baby Home. She paid €4 each time to get the publicly available death certificates of 796 children who died at the home at a total cost of €3,184 to her.
Over the 36-year period the average number of deaths was just over 22 a year. The youngest child to die at the institution was only 10 minutes and the oldest was 9½ years
Often up to two children per day were recorded as dying at the home, while on some dates, such as April 22nd, 1926, three deaths were recorded. Just over a week later on April 30th four deaths were recorded.
The information recorded on these State-issued certificates shows the children are marked as having died variously of tuberculosis, convulsions, measles, whooping cough, influenza, bronchitis and meningitis, among other illnesses.
The list below, compiled by Catherine Corless, lists the 796 children who died at the Tuam mother and baby home between 1925 and 1960 and 6 women who are also missing.
- Patrick Derrane 5 months
- Mary Blake 4 months
- Matthew Griffin 3 months
- Mary Kelly 6 months
- Peter Lally 11 months
- Julia Hynes 1 year
- James Murray 1 month
Our mission is to support survivors of Mother and Baby Homes by offering solidarity and friendship through a peer-supportive network to enable them to speak candidly of their experiences. Assisted by advocates, we work jointly to ensure that no survivor, regardless of length of stay or experience in such Institution is left behind – and that their place, central to the process of recognition, is guaranteed at all times.