Update – Reclaiming the Mass Grave of inmates of the Good Shepherd Laundry and Industrial School.

An Bord Pleanala have granted permission for the redevelopment of the site and our objections and observations regarding the women’s grave and active memorialisation (in the Bakehouse interpretive centre) have been upheld. Condition 5 of planning has guaranteed consultation with survivors.

The information bellow is out of date –  2018 updates coming soon

August 2014

I have sent a formal / official request to assess the possibility of leasing lands on Sunday’s Well to a management company – (to be established) in order to create a Memorial Garden and access to graves of those buried adjacent to the site of the former Good Shepherd Convent, Laundry and Orphanage. The Management Company will include survivors, their family members and specific experts. I personally guarantee that every effort will be made to ensure the project is fully participatory with survivors. I am waiting until I have some kind of formal approval before I call public meetings because I do not want to burden or disappoint anyone.

An adapted version of the report that I sent to Corporate Affairs Cork City Council follows. Trigger warning – content, especially photographs may be upsetting to survivors and supporters


Our motivation is to gain access to the graves of persons who lived and died in the Good Shepherd institutions.

Description of Site
The site includes the area known as ‘the gym’ and the walled in graveyard adjacent to ‘the gym’.
Currently ‘the gym site’ has no access, except via the steep embankment (about 20ft long) behind the College View housing estate (there is now a wall built at this point)

The grave(s) cannot be accessed at all due to the high, 8-20ft, walls and locked gates which surround it.

At least 30 women are buried in the mass grave (but records show evidence of more burials) and there is a second unmarked plot on site.

The walled-in graveyard includes trees and one mass grave. The smaller structure marked as a grave in the image has since been identified as the remnants of a greenhouse)

The headstone on the grave has been broken and the grave left untended

The area is land-locked, surrounded by; the Gaol, private housing & lands, the National School, the Good Shepherd site and the Community Centre on Strawberry Hill.


The site is 30-40 ft above the women’s Gaol with a low wall acting as the only barrier to protect people from falling the distance to the Gaol – this wall has collapsed in some areas.

Access can be created via the community centre could be made and this would be relatively flat and accessible.

Boundary between Community Centre, private property and ‘the gym’ site to be established (I am checking with Land Registry) – this boundary will be crucial in terms of access.

An elevated ‘walk’ runs along the back of the site including the graveyard and ‘the gym’, behind which there is a low wall leading to the embankment.

I have included this link to an album of photographs of the area (trigger warning)

The site does not include the Good Shepherd Convent lands which are NAMA owned. (these lands are now owned by Moneda and planning permission for redevelopment has been approved)

Current status of the site: The lands are held in Cork City Council Titles and the site is leased to the Gaol management as part of the heritage site.

Access via Blarney Street and Surrounding Areas Community Centre/ Association is desirable as the centre’s lands are at a similar elevation to ‘the gym’, to which it is adjacent. The community centre management and National School principal are in general agreement with my proposal and have indicated a desire to co-operate with the project. We are going to hold talks in September when the school returns to full working hours. The school management are looking into creating an outdoor kindergarten but have assured me that they will not stand in the way of a Memorial Garden. The Cork City Gaol Trustees are supportive of the project in principle but many safety and security issues need to be addressed.

Our main goal is to gain access to the graves on the proposed site. It is our hope that the creation of a Memorial Garden at this site will be highly beneficial to our society, survivors, survivor families and the tourism sector. A Memorial Park (concept changed to Survivors Community Garden, 2017) would be a generous and powerful gesture of reconciliation to laundry and orphanage survivors. It would also make for an incredibly beautiful park with clear vistas of Cork, located in a tranquil area. There are many such graves around the country and Cork City Council are well placed to pioneer this model of these sites as historic memorials.

It would be very important to our group to design the park in collaboration with survivors and with practical input from relevant council authorities for health and safety requirements.

I have attached a google earth map showing the area(s) Print

18 thoughts on “Update – Reclaiming the Mass Grave of inmates of the Good Shepherd Laundry and Industrial School.

  1. Maureen Moynihan

    hello I have been trying very hard to find a way to visit Little Nellie of Holy Gods grave. Have researched online and have tried to find a way to enter the now secured graves and land. Could you recommend which would be the best way. I know I would be ‘trespassing’ but it is my dearest wish to pay my respects and would love help in this area. Please could you contact me in regards to this. I feel that those buried there are on consecrated ground and therefore I have every right to visit. Many thanks and would love to hear from you. Im delighted to read your web page and think it is marvellous that you are pushing for the memorial may God bless your efforts

    1. maureenconsidine Post author

      Hello Maureen, Thank you for your support. The grave of Little Nellie is located in the nun’s plot on the NAMA owned Good Shepherd order’s former lands. The women’s graves (the one I am working on) are in a separate section behind the Gaol. The separation of the two graveyard’s shows a bias. The nun’s graves (and Little Nellie’s) are located up high on the far right of the NAMA owned Good Shepherd order’s former site. If you have a good relationship with the religious then the easiest way to access Little Nellie’s grave would be to ask the nuns to allow you in and it would be safer for you. They would be able to bring you up their road to the site. The trespassing route would mean some climbing over ditches and crawling under fences. Does this help?


      00 971 558954717

      1. maureenconsidine Post author

        Hello Neil, the site of the Good Shepherd institutions is now going through the planning process for redevelopment. This has been well covered by local broadcast and print news if you want to look it up.

      2. Rose Brien Harrington

        For the love of Christ. Twould make more sense to visit the Magdalene grave.


      3. maureenconsidine Post author

        Thanks Rose, yes the blog post was written to bring about awareness of the women’s grave. Those who seek access to Ellen Organ’s grave would do well to note that the women’s grave is completely inaccessible. X


        Helo Maureen
        Thanks for writing. I work in Dubai and have been desperately writing letters to contacts available on the net. Written to the Bishop’s office..Last one to this firm called Savil’s that did the deal with a private buyer last year. Lets see what kind of replies I may get. Is there any way you can help – over here I feel totally helpless but believe God may have a plan. As mentioned earlier; if only they could sell me the cemetery portion with some road access and I will give it all away for pilgrims to visit for posterity..perhaps a Church be build over the graves. Am wiling to spend all my savings on this

      5. maureenconsidine Post author

        Hello again Neil,

        No, I cannot help you with this. I campaign for access to the graves of women and children who were held in the Good Shepherd institutions. You might consider researching Irelands Magdalene Laundries and Industrial Schools if you want to understand the issue.

        It seems to me that Christian’s striving for access to Ellen Organ’s grave should extend those demands to all of our dead. No woman or child should be denied remembrance.

        Ultimately Ellen Organ’s descendants are the people who should decide what happens in regard to her burial plot.

      6. Rose Brien Harrington

        The poor sap, he has no idea what he’s talking about. Why on earth is he so hooked up on Ellen Organ I wonder?


  2. Maureen Moynihan

    Hello Maureen thanks for your help I reckon the best entry would be college view road and try that entrance. I phoned the nuns in Good Shepherd Services but all I got was to come to them instead which is not what I was looking for. As I said I am determined to pay a visit as a remark of respect of those whose remains lie unaccessed. Thanks for taking the time to reply and very much appreciate it. I do hope that you will be successful in accomplishing this very worthy cause of our sisters who should be honoured with love and respect..

  3. Rose Brien Harrington

    Hi Maureen, I’m Maureen Considine’s cousin and I am involved in the restoration project also. I have been reading the posts and I am curious as to what the GS nuns meant by “coming to them instead”. Did they mean that they would conduct you to the gravesite you wish to visit or that you could just visit them instead of visiting the grave? I would be interested to know. Many thanks


    1. Maureen Moynihan

      Hi Rose I have a desperate desire to visit Little Nellie of Holy God grave. Got in touch with Good Shepherd sisters services and stated my case. But Sr Jennifer said it was off limits and they had a Chapel with a picture and I was welcome to pray there. Then I got onto Google and found Maureen and I did extensive research into how to access the site. Then I found the number of the convent and it was the same Sr Jennifer that answered and told me the same story. Now Im going up on Tuesday for cork hospital at 4.30 for appointment with surgeon re cancer. I thought of buying a rope ladder and climbing over the wall but there must be an easier way to get in but the sister was adamant that it was off limit s. I’m stubborn and determined to pay a visit and will find a way and won’t rest till I do. The ground is consecrated and belongs to the catholic church of which I’m a member. I live in Kerry. Thanks Rose keep me informed

      1. Rose Brien Harrington

        Hi Maureen, I don’t think that ground does belong to the catholic church, as far as I’m aware it is NAMA owned, although I don’t suppose they will be any more sympathetic than Jennifer will be. You could try the City Council and see if they can help you. Good luck with your treatment.


      2. Maureen Moynihan

        Hi Rose I have a secret weapon will be using tomorrow and once I have used it I will let you know what it is and see if I have any luck

      3. Maureen Moynihan

        Hi Rose just to say thanks but I will try my secret weapon if it works will let you know. As I said I’m determined to get to the grave and hopefully it will happen. Will keep you informed of any progress. Keep up the good fight. It’s so important, they should be honoured and never forgotten.

    2. Maureen Moynihan

      Hi Rose not sure if my reply to your email was sent to you but if it v did not go thru let me know and I will resend. Thanks Maureen Moynihan

      1. Maura Moloney

        Hello Maureen, I am curious to know how you got on with your visit to see Little Nellies grave? I have a real desire to visit her resting place.
        I hope all is good for you regarding your health.

      2. maureenconsidine Post author

        Hi Maura, Its really not possible to visit Nellie Organ’s grave at the moment. Nellie Organ is buried with the Good Shepherd nuns on NAMA-owned former Good Shepherd lands. I only managed to get onto the site by climbing under and over fencing but that was 2 years ago.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s