Carol McKie - Abstracts

Carol is from Limerick and shares her memories about the children from St. George's orphanage and her uncle's stories of delivering coal to the Good Shepherd Institution.

...but the thing about them was they all looked the same. They always had the same haircut – we'd call it a bob today I suppose but it was more like a bowl cut than anything else. We always would have called them 'the Convent girls', that's what they went by. But they would be going along in little groups. They never travelled on their own. There were always groups of them together, with the little fringes and the hair down the sides ... And they all wore little gabardine coats…but they always stood out.

Now my mother would send me down to the laundry with sheets and blankets to have them done and when you go in the door, the nuns would always be out front. They were the front but you could see in at the back and you could see the steam everywhere and you could see people hauling stuff around and you could imagine you know that it was a tough job that they had to do. These girls now, at the time I suppose they looked old to me but I suppose they were in their twenties you know some of them or their thirties. This would have been about '65 or '66 around that time. Again they had the same bowl hairstyle. But if you saw them out they dressed in clothes that would have been more suited to an older woman rather than somebody their age. They would always have looked dowdy if you know what I mean, old fashioned. They always had coats on them and their gloves and the coats would be down to the knees – this would be the time now when skirts and coats were starting to go up a bit. But they always dressed in older peoples clothes.

And then my uncle told my mother, he used to deliver coal into the Good Shepherd and the nuns would be there when he would deliver in the coal and there would be girls working around in the outside and they weren't allowed to look at him once he came in and if any of them ever did have the misfortune to look in his direction they were taken away straight away and shouted and roared at. My uncle said he felt they probably got a bit of a whack for doing that.

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