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Ireland: 31 Days, 31 Pictures: Day 15- St Joseph’s Industrial School

Day 15: St Joseph’s Industrial School

I came to Letterfrack, a small village in the Connemara area of County Galway, to research St Joseph’s Industrial School, otherwise known as Letterfrack Reformatory School.

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The school was opened in 1887, and run by the Congregation of Christian Brothers.

St Joseph’s received a lasting notoriety through revelation of physical and sexual abuse of the boys by some of the Brothers there, with evidence of sexual abuse and extreme physical punishments going back to the 1930s. 

The school was closed in 1974.

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The former onsite accommodation of the Christian Brothers has now been transformed into a youth hostel.

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The only remnant of the site’s horrific past is a small cemetery tucked up in the woods behind the school. The cemetery containing plaques for the 147 children who died there while in the care of the Christian Brothers mainly from abuse and neglect.

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