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Children of The Asylum - Feature for THE MAIL, 2022

  St Brigid’s Hospital - Forgotten children of the Asylum  I grew up in a small town in Co. Galway. Like a lot of people in rural Ireland, my parents both worked and I was more or less raised by my grandparents. They had spent their working lives as psychiatric nurses in St Brigids hospital, Ballinasloe, , formerly Connaught Lunatic Asylum. Once the largest mental hospital in Europe, it was a vast spread of buildings dating back to 1833. My grandfather’s career started in 1917 and lasted until 1947. He was not exceptional in the town, in fact it was very common to have mothers and daughters, father and sons working alongside each other in the hospital for 30-40 year careers. I grew up hearing tales from ‘the big house’ to the extent that when got a bit older and started asking more questions my mother begged my granny ‘not to be telling any more stories, you’ll give her nightmares’. I eventually left home to go to college in Dublin but would often make the journey home to Ballinasloe

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