Industrial Schools in Ireland

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Preface to First Edition continued

The Industrial School was established in 1863. It has been principally supported by English ladies and Protestants. The little town where the convent is situated, is visited by tourists during the summer months; and many who have visited the convent have been so much struck by the good they saw done there, that they have actually devoted themselves to selling work amongst their English friends for the poor children. The returns of work sold in the Industrial School are as follows:—

Work sold in1863......703
Making a total of£1,228110½

The falling off in 1867 has been accounted for partly from the Fenian panic, which prevented tourists visiting Ireland as numerously as in other years, and partly from the attraction of the French Exhibition having drawn tourists in that direction. I have been exact in giving these details, because they form an important subject for consideration in regard to the present history of Ireland. They show at once the poverty of the people, their love of industry, and their eagerness to do work when they can get it. In this, and in other convent schools throughout Ireland, the youngest children are trained to habits of industry. They are paid even for their first imperfect attempts, to encourage them to go on; and they treasure up the few weekly pence they earn as a lady would her jewels. One child had in this way nearly saved up enough to buy herself a pair of shoes—a luxury she had not as yet possessed ; but before the whole amount was procured she went to her eternal home, where there is no want, and her last words were a message of love and gratitude to the nuns who had taught her.