Evelyn: Changing The Law In Ireland - TO THE INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS

Evelyn Doyle, with one of her five brothers, during their childhood years.  Image online, courtesy Evelyn Doyle.  PD.


No one in Charlotte Doyle's family had a clue she was planning to leave.

Christmas Day, 1953, had been a joyous time. But the day after - St. Stephen's Day - Charlotte Doyle told her daughter (who was also up early) that she was "going for the messages." Then she left.

Something about "just going for the messages" didn't make sense to Evelyn. Her mother's message bag was full. Where was she really going?

The little girl, yelling "Mammy, come back!" tore after her mother. Evelyn, in her book Tea and Green Ribbons (originally published in the UK as Evelyn: A True Story) recalls this life-changing event:

I followed her to Dolphin's Barn Street. I could see her on the other side of the road but I couldn't cross, it was too busy with people coming and going from Mass. I was still screaming, "Mammy! Mammy! Come back!" But she didn't turn around. I watched her get on a bus with a man. I stood there for a few minutes, crying, not even noticing that I was soaked through to my skin. I have to tell Daddy, I thought, and I turned and ran back towards home. (Tea and Green Ribbons, page 43.)

And "Daddy," who was currently out of work, had to tell the government. Because ... when he learned the truth about Charlotte, Desmond Doyle knew he could not care for his children alone. How could he be with them, at home, while he was also working, as a painter?

The day after Charlotte left, Des and Evelyn went to town. Stopping first at the Pearse Street Garda Station ("Garda" is Ireland's Ireland's national police force), Des reported his wife as a "missing person."

Getting no help from the police at the Pearse Street station, Evelyn and her father walked around the front of Trinity College, passing by the Provost's House on their way to 20 Molesworth Street (a fashionable area of Dublin). They were looking for the local office of the ISPCC (Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children).

Mr. Wogan, an official at ISPCC, listened to Desmond's tale. His response was not encouraging:

If your wife doesn't come back, I think we'll have to have the children committed to the industrial schools. (Tea and Green Ribbons, page 55.)

What is an industrial school? It is officially defined as:

A boarding or day school for children who had committed minor crimes or who lived in circumstances where they were likely to commit crime.

It is fair to ask: What, exactly, were the crimes that six children, between the ages of one and eight, were "likely to commit?"

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Apr 30, 2019

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"TO THE INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 01, 2002. Feb 29, 2020.
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