Monday, 31 October 2016

Tuam Spirit Babies - Sarah Morrissey

Sarah Morrissey 
Many people have contributed to the Tuam Spirit Babies project and have helped or are helping with the organisation of the Candlelight Vigil. Sarah Morrissey is another person who's been there right from the beginning; helping to develop ideas. It was her idea to do the actual walk from the playground to the Town hall -(a kind of darkness into light.) She was also very busy collecting monies for the candles (there'll be 400+ displayed in a heart shape in the centre of the playground.) Many people bought a candle (the names are displayed below) we decided it was best to go to to two big institutions to ask for money from people, that way the word would spread and it'd have more impact. Sarah works in NUIG. Huge thanks to Sarah. #Tuamspiritbabies

Red candles for the vigil
Thank You

Many thanks to everyone who took the time and effort to help with the candle contribution, your help was invaluable. 


Saturday, 29 October 2016

Tuam Spirit Babies - Val McNamara

Round and round we go... by Val McNamara
Many, many people have been involved with this project and the organisation of the vigil behind the scenes and Val McNamara is someone who has been at the helm of things, for the past six months. Her support, healing help and wisdom have been invaluable to the process and her presence at the Tuam Shopping Mall (there were three visits) was a source  of comfort to all who met her. Thank you.

Val told me that her piece reflects the older children who were incarcerated in the institutions and who often had to make the rosary beads for sale. 
Who benefitted from the proceeds? 
Certainly not the children...
A very potent piece, the endless rhyming aspect has a certain nightmarish yet playful quality about it, which again,is very powerful.

Val also added,"The idea of going round and round is also like the celtic spiral, round and round, yet back through time to a time when spiritual practices were more pure and not tainted by religious rituals."

Val McNamara pictured in the centre with Pauline Cunningham

Val McNamara left with pauline Cunningham
Val will lead a small ceremony at the summit of Knockma on Wednesday 2nd November (All Soul's Day) at to set the intention for the day (please meet at the car park before hand). All welcome. #Tuamspiritbabies

Friday, 28 October 2016

Tuam Spirit Babies - Valerie Dunne

Beautiful work submitted by Valerie Dunne (top) The baby gro merging into the brickwork is a hugely powerful statement as many people from Tuam have referenced the 9ft.walls that surrounded the 'Home.' Valerie facilitates many art projects in Dublin and has done profound work with families who have lost a baby. Wonderful!!!

Anne-Marie Gillooley (bottom) is mother to Max who died full-term before birth. She has a blog and speaks of the 'Max-shaped hole' in her and her husband's lives.' Another very moving contribution to this project. 

The tears just keep flowing in this project... 
Many thanks to you both for taking the time and effort. It's greatly appreciated Xx

Tuam Spirit Babies - Tastes like a Candelight Vigil

Tuam Spirit Babies - Love and Truth bombs

We're blown away by these LOVE and TRUTH bombs Xx Amazing!!!! Huge hugs to whoever's helping us out!!!! You're an absolute SUPERSTARxXx

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Tuam Spirit Babies - 'Home Babies' memories

This will bring you to tears.

In memory of the 'Home Babies'.

Tuam Spirit Babies - Penny Jones Yoga

Penny Jones Yoga

Here's what the Mother and Baby yoga  group Penny Jones Yoga produced for our 'Tuam Spirit Babies' exhibition. Gorgeous.

And this is what was conveyed when I chatted to Penny afterwards.

The 'Home Babies' didn't get a chance to do all the usual things children do at home; like listening to their favourite music or enjoy a family christmas or even just arts and crafts with their own mothers. The image on the bottom right is a small baby handprint but surrounding it, is the announcements in the newspapers for births, deaths and marriages which they were also denied. 

It's astounding how many different perspectives are coming from this subject.

Mairéad McKeon also dropped by at the same time as Penny last week and she delivered a tiny hand crafted bonnet which is on the second row in the photo above. Beautiful. Mairérad is part of the Yarn-bombing movement in Headford :-)

Thank you to everyone for taking the time and effort to contribute. 
It's greatly appreciated.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Tuam Spirit Babies - Sans Secours

This incredible piece of writing is by Dee Macmahon. Thank you for this poignant contribution to our Tuam Spirit Babies exhibition. Sans Secours (without help/helpless).

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Tuam Spirit Babies - Tuam Babies Family Group

Tuam is just one of many Mother and Baby Homes and County Homes and Magdalene Homes where women and children were incarcerated and denied their rights under the laws of this state. A new group has been formed United Survivors and there will be an official launch on the 04th November 2016. We the Tuam Babies Family Group are affiliate members and we would urge others to unite with us. They have the support of several M.E.P'S, T.D's and Counselors and their Patron is Gus O'Connell  Mayor of South Dublin. They are all inclusive and welcome all. Statement by a member. or contact the group on 089-4573234.  

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Tuam Spirit Babies - Pauline Cunningham

Life, Love, Live Life.
Here's one of the latest pieces for our Tuam Spirit Babies exhibition by Pauline Cunningham. 

If you've ever met Pauline you'll agree she has one of the biggest hearts of anyone you're ever likely meet. She has a very chilled, loving presence, so when she volunteered to be part of the 'From the Heart' days (there were three) at the Tuam Shopping Mall, it was completely right to have her on board. She has an amazing facility to cut through the bullshit and get to the heart of something without causing damage as she goes. Very interesting that the piece she did encapsulates herself. A lovely woman with a strong plant growing from her heart centre executed on handmade paper and framed beautifully.

Pauline connected very strongly to how the mothers were treated in the 'home,' so her overall image is about them. 

The back of the frame has a thick piece of sacking with which to hang the work and that, in itself, conveys more than I need to write.

Many thanks to Pauline for giving her time 
(three Saturdays in Tuam) and of course the time and effort gone into creating such a lovely contribution to our show.#Tuamspiritbabies

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Tuam Spirit Babies - Tuam Mother and Baby Home CandleLight Vigil

Meeting at the playground

A Candlelight vigil in memory of the inhabitants of the Tuam Bon Secours, Mother and Baby Home will take place on Wednesday 2nd November 2016 (All Soul’s Day) @7pm.
The general public are invited to assemble at the ‘Home Babies Burial Grounds’(the playground) at Dublin Road Housing Estate in Tuam from where there will be a memorial march to the Town Square following the well trodden path of the ‘Home Children.’ 
As a direct result of the dedicated, campaigning work of Catherine Corless, a preliminary excavation of the site was announced on Friday 31st September. Through her work as a local historian/researcher, Catherine Corless discovered that approx. 800 mothers and babies remains are unaccounted for. Whilst their deaths are recorded, there’s no evidence of their burials and according to eye-witness accounts, it is suspected that the remains are in a mass grave at the site. 

Overwhelmed by the story, earlier this year, artist Sadie Cramer embarked on a National Art Project entitled: ‘Tuam Spirit Babies’ She invited the general public to contribute to an exhibition and as a result, in both Tuam and further a field, with survivors and various parties,
discovered the urgent need for a public ritual. Of the hundreds of people who expressed an opinion, the overwhelming desire was for a vigil to take place in Tuam itself. 
Not only is the vigil a memorial for the deceased but it is a manifestation of support for the ‘Survivors’, in their quest for justice and recognition; be it the abuses suffered at the ’home’ or their ill treatment when eventually fostered and also their difficulties in accessing their own birth and medical records 
and the broader questions surrounding illegal adoptions and vaccination trials. 
Following the procession the ‘Tuam Spirit Babies’ exhibition will be launched at the Town Hall which will run until November 16th

There will be some guest speakers and the evening will culminate in the proposed screening of a film shot in Tuam. 

A premiere of the film ‘Children of Shame’ – (To be confirmed) 
A 52-minute documentary by Saskia Weber and Nicolas Glimois which was shown on France 2, a French public channel and has yet to be aired in Ireland will be screened pending permission at 8pm on the 2nd floor of the Town Hall. 
This film traces the journey of unmarried mothers and missing children. We meet John Rogers, one of the tens of thousands of ill-fated children born in ultra-catholic twentieth century Ireland, a child of shame, guilty of having being born out of the sacred born of matrimony. His mother, like many other young women, spent her life paying the price for giving birth to an illegitimate child, who was torn from her arms shortly after birth. This documentary investigates Ireland’s painful recent history to give the ’children of shame’ a voice. Java Films 

Earlier on the same day a remembrance will take place at the summit of Knockma at 11am. 

For further information find Tuam Spirit Babies on Facebook. 
Catherine Corless - 085 159 3057 
Sadie Cramer - 087 2940458    #Tuamspiritbabies

Monday, 10 October 2016

Tuam Spirit Babies – A National Art Project

There's been fantastic support for our project Tuam Spirit Babies it has a life-force of it's own. A reminder that our exhibition in Tuam will be launching on November 2nd ( All Soul's Day.) There's still time to make a keepsake for all babies lost. Please watch the video for instructions and don't miss the opportunity to be part of it all.#Tuamspiritbabies. There are many ways to get involved. More information to follow soon. Sadie Xx

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Tuam Spirit Babies - Motion

The wheels are in motion, we're off!!! 
This project is taking on a life force of it's own and it's moving at a rapid rate. It's almost hard to catch my breath somedays...As mentioned before, the many daily occurrences, synchronicities and overlaps are astounding.

When our old car died, I asked that another car magically appear. It did. I believe in magick. Rurai O'Byrne (Feature walls artist - his work's on an earlier post) told me that his dad's car has been sitting in his driveway for the past three years because he has Alzheimer's :-( Did we want it? Yes. 
We accepted it without question because sometimes we need to be in that 'heart space' of acceptance. It's turned out to be an absolute gift, not only is it immaculate inside and out (even though it's a 2004- it was minded) it's also very comfortable and luxurious and it arrived in perfect time. 
Blessings and huge thanks to Rurai Xx

We've had it for over a week now and we're thrilled with it.

Yesterday on my way to Cellbridge library, the car was cruising along nicely but then as it neared Athlone, I felt the tyre blow, accompanied by the smell of burning rubber and and a cloud of white smoke, the speed dropped dramatically and the whole car started to judder. I could feel the steering wheel hopping in my hands. Very scary.  Luckily, I was right near the slip road for the Applegreen service station where I managed to swerve in. It was only 7.30am, so I was lucky for a number of different reasons: the place wasn't too busy, I didn't crash into anyone else and the lovely Jonathan was available to help me calm down and assisted a very smooth wheel change. He did however, tell me it's a wonder I wasn't killed as the tyre had blown in three places. I'm being minded.

I wasn't hurt and neither was I mildly injured, just shook and pretty much stayed shook until I finally got home and into bed. 

Just before I reached our house, I parked at the pier to just take a moment's breather and soak up the calm of the lake, it looked particularly serene yesterday and whilst doing so a crazy little wagtail kept flying around the car, tapping each window and the roof as it went. It encircled the car about six times at which stage the charm of it was beginning to wear off and I was beginning to get a bit freaked. 
What the hell...?

On reflection, yesterday's incident wasn't about the car (although we've since bought a whole new set of tyres.) We have to be practical, but mostly about the concept of motion and the need to embrace the unexpected. As stated, this project has a sense of motion about it, it's changing rapidly daily and so many different view points, people and ideas have to be taken into consideration during the process. It's a big undertaking.
All we can do is embrace things as they unfold and try and 
facilitate everyone with a sense of cheer. 
I'm really enjoying the winged messengers in the midst of it all. 
Lots of love Xx

Wagtail offering reflection
Wagtail. Motion. 

Message- move forward, no matter how slow, steady or uncertain. Have the strength to push forward against the odds. Dedicated effort, time management. Cheerfulness, sociabilty, friendly. Balance within to move from one thing to another. 
You can't make this stuff up Xx


Thursday, 6 October 2016

Tuam Spirit babies - Excavation

Last week just before people arrived for our kitchen table craft morning (Sept.30th), I sliced my hand on a tin can whilst emptying the recycling bin. Immediately after the incision, I could feel the blood drain from my face and promptly fainted onto the couch - luckily. For the rest of the day, the wound kept opening (it still hasn't fully healed) and every so often I'd get dizzy and need to sit down. I've fainted before but never at the sight of blood or over a cut, so for most of the week I've been thinking about the significance of it in relation to the news about the excavation which emerged only hours later. 

This project 'Tuam Spirit Babies' is about unearthing the truth and recognising past wrongs and the entire process for me is about trying to find the healing within it. In many ways there's been a parallel aspect in my own life and more often than not, a reflection back when the mirror of truth is held up for scrutiny. Every time some new view point surfaces for consideration I've also tried to see the relevance in my own life. How can one change?  Change the ugly things still lurking? Or at the very least, accept them. It's not easy. There are many shadowy traits hidden that we'd rather keep locked away. 
Are we prepared to allow them to be uncovered for examination??? 
It's very, very scary!

One of the things I've found horrific and have always shied away from, just because I couldn't cope within myself, is the aspect of child sex abuse and all the other terrible abuses that were inflicted on people in the institutions. It took me a long, long, time to embrace this project because I knew it was the ugliest thing I personally, have to look at and quite frankly, I didn't want to go there. For years I turned away from the news, left the room or turned off the radio because I couldn't cope with hearing about it all, but somehow the terrible thing that happened in Tuam, sat with me and resonated so much over a period of time (it just wouldn't go away) that I finally had to take notice and do something about it. I wasn't sexually abused as a child but it could well have been a thing I'm connecting to though my ancestors (whom I know little about). 
It's the very issue I find so abhorrent and difficult to understand.
How and why do people do this heinous thing? 

It's a hugely complex subject, one which has many strands of thought and reason behind it but perhaps during this process of actively seeking, can we/can I put ourselves/myself in the place of the perpetrator? 

When were we the perpetrator?

And somehow find the compassion to dare I say it...forgive? 

It's a work in progress. 

I've met many survivors.

I've met many, many people during the past few months, but I've yet to meet someone who did these things to children, but just like everyone else, they too deserve a compassionate hearing and support to help them heal.

On some energetic level last week, I cut my hand before the ground was opened up and maybe fear crept in too. The fear of opening up about myself (I don't like to reveal too much and I, like a lot of people, put on the layers of self protection). More often than not though, the very things we keep to ourselves are the very things that will actually connect us to others because it gives permission for us all to have flaws, yet amongst them, we can continue or begin to LOVE someone else despite them. I have an english accent (that represents the oppressor in some people's minds, I'm mixed race and with that comes a lot of baggage too; mixed race children were treated so badly in the institutions). I am flawed beyond belief, can you find it in your heart to LOVE me? A strange question to ask but if we can find the compassion in our hearts for each other then perhaps it could go as far as the perpetrators too. I've met a good few survivors at this stage (more on this again) there's no anger or bitterness amongst them, only perhaps sadness for the mothers and families they never knew. We can learn so much from that attitude.

As you can see, it's a case of 'healer heal thyself.'

All these buried truths are finally coming to the surface (2016 has the vibration of Truth about it) and with them come revelations which we all have to face; be it about what's hidden in Tuam (burial mound) or what we ourselves continue to bury. The only way to progress is to confront our fears and keep asking questions about why we're fearful over a particular issue and what it is we need to bring to the surface for examination. For example: If something you hear scares you, ask your higher self why? and wait for an answer. It might not come straight away but by asking, you're in a state of preparation and that in itself is huge. Keep asking the questions to find out the truth behind the fear and keep looking at what needs to come from the depths for observation. 
That's what I'm doing anyway.
Lots of love Xx#Tuamspiritbabies