• Thank you to Carol and Steve Bowman, the forum owners, for our new upgrade!

Dublin Foundling Hospital/Workhouse 1700's

Ailish

Administrator Emerita
I was looking through some old journals the other night and found a life I haven’t done much work on. I wanted to share a few things...


It’s Ireland – Dublin, I feel. I am about 6 years old. I am working in some sort of room with other children. I am making lace (?) Two men are walking around – watching what we are doing. Someone is calling me Sarah, tugging at my sleeve. I look down – it’s a younger girl, perhaps 4. I know her name is Bridget. She’s not my sister, but I watch over her. I am scared and tell her to get back to work before we get in trouble.

I am sleeping in a bed with straw on it. There are two other children in the bed with me. One is coughing. I roll over; my hands are itchy and swollen. As I turn over I can feel my ribs sticking out. A woman comes into the room – she tells us to get up – get up and get to morning meal.

Life was hard – food was scarce, and the conditions were awful. Young babies and newborns were left in a basket on the porch – there was a man there whose job it was to check and bring them in.

I am walking by a man who is dozing on a chair. I see a basket with three babies in it – they are tiny and crying – and naked. I wonder why the man is not helping them. I hear someone coming and hide behind a door. I can see a large woman leading several women inside.

We are in the “dining hall," which is little more than a few old wooden tables and unsteady benches. Cast-offs. I am wearing some sort of gray woolen dress and black woolen tights with holes in them. I have black boots, but they are too tight and I can feel them pinching my feet. There is a bowl of mush (?) that looks gray and clumpy and some sort of dry bread that is hard. There is something in a cup – tea I think. But it’s watery and there’s no milk for it.

Then I am in the kitchen, helping wash the dishes in a big wooden basin. The water isn’t clean. The water is ice cold and scraps of food are floating in it. There is a young boy stacking wood by a fireplace. A big black pot hangs in it. There is a smell – like rotting meat and cabbage. I want to gag.

There is a woman – who takes in the babies and organizes the nurses. She is the one who gives us names and sometimes records things in a register. I’ve been thinking that she can tell me who my family is. I feel nervous as I go to her office. I enter with my head bowed. She asks me what I want and I tell her I want to know who my mam is. She asks me to repeat my question; I have mumbled it. I feel a blush on my cheeks. I stumble through and ask her again. She looks at me a moment before laughing. Then she looks in her book and tells me “ We’ve no idea where you came from. You were left here in 1733.” I nod at her and feel my hope slip away.


I will share some more later ;)
 

ChrisR

Administrator Emeritus
Staff member
Super Moderator
Thanks for sharing those memories Aili, it's very sad to read about such an unfortunate beginning to that particular life, especially trying to find out where your mother was.


I hope she didn't have to spend her whole life in the workhouse, i'm looking forward to hearing more about her, can you remember if there's a happy ending?


Chris... ;)
 

Deborah

Director Emerita
Staff member
Super Moderator
Hi Ailish

You were left here in 1733.” I nod at her and feel my hope slip away.
aweeeeeeeeeeeeee Makes me all teary eyed to even think you were left somewhere like this. So many children abandoned, and made to work through out history. This is a very interesting past life...even if sad, and difficult; this kind of past life experience we don't hear about often on the forum, and I have long thought -"why not?"


I hope you do more work around it Ailish. There is something beautiful about it...on many layers. Probably one being - the way you express it. ;) The other, it speaks volumes about what it means to be human in history ...so long ago.
 

Ailish

Administrator Emerita
Thank you for your replies, Deborah & Chris :)


You know, the funny thing is – I’d forgotten about this life until I checked back in my journals. It was from ages ago – pl work I was doing with a friend and her mom. It’s interesting for me to pull it out after all these years because I can actually see relevant patterns and thoughts and how they relate to me in the NOW. Something I definitely wasn't looking for when I was a teen. ;) I am interested in doing more work around this life.


Chris – I am not certain how Sarah’s story ended. I have no memories of her death at all. I do know that she was taken in by a family at age 7 – as a maid/helper, and returned to the workhouse a year later – when the family went to America. I have yet to type out those memories, but I will share.


Deborah – I’m surprised, too, that more people don’t remember a similar type of life. Very common experiences for those days. I was doing some research this morning and one historian stated that they’d take in 1600 – 2000 unwanted babies and children every year in Dublin. That includes newborns, as well as orphaned children – or parents who were poor and just didn’t have the resources to care for their offspring.


You’re right – the memories are sad, but there is beauty and innocence in them. I have very few memories of Bridget, but I know she was extremely important to me. Also – another girl named Catherine, who came to the workhouse after she was orphaned, was close to me like a sister. She was older than me -- but I felt "protective" of her -- she didn't know "the ropes" and found it hard to adjust. I will share some memories I have of her later this afternoon. ;)


Aili
 

Tinkerman

Executive Director
Staff member
Super Moderator
Thanks for sharing Aili, a true sad story.


It's hard to believe the cruelty children went through then...and still do today. Innocence defiled is truly the ultimate opposite of the compassion we as humans are capable of. I tremble at the thought of such beauty and perfection being harmed. Those children grew up, (and do today) and inevitably effected their off-spring and the world. Perhaps in those terrible storms of living, lessons were learned and recognized, as in your case. You bring it to light in a way we can focus on. We can see the terrible sadness, but the beauty of hope...you give it that!


I look forward to reading more.


Tman
 

Ailish

Administrator Emerita
Thanks, Tman. :) It's definitely sad to think about how many kids are still experiencing poor conditions throughout the world. Hopefully one day soon -- that will be eradicated. ;)


Here are the rest of the memories from my journals:

There is a girl about 9 standing by the window looking out. I ask her what her name is and she says, “Catherine.” I ask her why she’s crying and she tells me she misses her parents. They died – and she was sent here. She asks when I came here and I tell her when I was a baby.


Catherine and I go into a room to sweep the floors. We walk by some children on a bed. They are piled on the bed – I know they are dead. Catherine screams and points at them. I take a thin blanket from one of the other beds and put it over the bodies. I tell her we have to hurry – have to finish or there’ll be trouble. We don’t speak, but keep sweeping. It’s a common sight – I am used to it, but Catherine cries. I don’t understand her tears, people die all the time. I never cry.


Catherine and I are cleaning the ashes out of the fireplace. We are playing a game while we do it. She is teaching me letters, tracing them in the ashes. I am trying to follow her, but it’s hard and I’m feeling frustrated.


Catherine is telling us stories about what a family is like. We three are in one bed, Catherine, Bridget and I. She is telling us about her Mam and how she sang songs and how they went to church. I am having a hard time understanding how different Catherine’s life was before she came here – and most of the time I don’t know what she means, but I like the stories.
Eventually I was taken in by a family as a servant, however the family decided to go to America, and I was sent back to the workhouse.

I am 7 years old. I’ve been taken in by a family, to be a servant to their children and to help in the kitchen. It is strange being here – seeing how people live in a house. There is so much room – for so few people. I have my own room off the kitchen. I feel lonely and scared in this room. I miss the other girls – miss having someone share my bed. It’s very quiet here. But I don’t cry.
I am watching the mother with one of her kids. She is fussing over her daughter, who has something wrong with her legs – she stays in bed all the time. It’s fascinating to me – to see that grown-ups are different from what I know them to be. I watch her talking to her daughter, sitting on the edge of her bed, touching her cheek and something in my heart hurts. I think about what it would be like, to be this girl. I think about what it would be like not to walk. In that moment I make a decision – I tell God – that if He gives me a mother like her, He can take away my legs and make this girl walk again instead.


I go to church with the family. I even have a good dress and boots that fit. The mother has given me some of her children’s old clothes. I feel proud to have such fine things. I am very careful with them – I keep them as clean and neat as I can. After church I am allowed to eat with the family, but the rest of the week I serve them and take my meals with the other help in the kitchen. The food is good and there is always plenty to eat.


I am 8 – and the parents tell me that they are sending me back to the workhouse. I feel panic in my chest – and for the first time I cry. I feel shame for crying, but I can’t stop the tears. I don’t want to go back! I am holding onto the mother’s skirts, pleading to be allowed to go with them. She pats my head and tells me they are going to America and they cannot take the help. My heart feels broken – I have grown to love this family. I am begging her to take me to America – promising to work harder, do more -- but she tells me that they will be staying with relatives – and there is only room for her own children. She tells me I can take the good clothes with me – and she will give me some more when they pack all of their things. I am sobbing, I don’t want to go back. My heart hurts so badly…I run from the room.


I am back at the workhouse. Catherine is still there and I am happy to see her. I have given her one of the good dresses and a pair of woolen tights. The rest were taken from me when I came back and given to the other girls. I ask Catherine where Bridget is and she looks sad. She tells me Bridget died. I don’t cry when I hear the news – but I feel a deep sadness in my heart that I’ve never felt before when someone died.


Then I am standing beside the dirty window remembering Bridget – I feel tears slipping down my cheeks. She was like my little sister. I let myself cry now – when everyone else is sleeping. I feel someone tugging at my hand and turn thinking it’s Bridget – but it’s Catherine. I wipe my tears away and tell her I am fine. Catherine says, “It’s okay to cry.” I tell her I’m not crying and turn away from her. I tell her to go back to bed. I feel angry and ashamed that Catherine caught me crying.
I know very little else – except my friend Catherine and I wanted to leave and we whispered about it far into the night.

Catherine is thin and pale. I feel scared for her. She has a terrible cough. I tell her we need to leave this place. She tells me there’s nowhere to go. I tell her I have a plan, but we need to leave Ireland – we can get on a ship. She starts to get excited, asking “Could we, Sarah? Do you really think we could?” I nod at her and we start whispering, making plans.
 

tanguerra

Moderator Emeritus
Life was certainly very hard for the poor back then. As Tinkerman says there are still far too many children suffering this kind of deprivation and worse. The boy soldiers in Africa upset me the most.


It is very sweet to think of the little children comforting each other as best they could though:

Catherine is telling us stories about what a family is like. We three are in one bed, Catherine, Bridget and I. She is telling us about her Mam and how she sang songs and how they went to church. I am having a hard time understanding how different Catherine’s life was before she came here – and most of the time I don’t know what she means, but I like the stories.
Do you think you have met Catherine again this life?
 

Ailish

Administrator Emerita
Thank you for your comments, Tanguerra & Archival, they are much appreciated. :)


Tanguerra - Unfortunately, I don't recognize anyone from that lifetime as being in my present one. Hopefully, wherever they are, they're having some grand adventures. Perhaps our paths will cross again in the future. ;)


Aili
 

dark rosaleen

Senior Registered
Hi, Ailish,


Three or four times in your entries, you describe Sarah's feelings as pain--her heart hurts. Is that a figure of speech, or does it seem like she had some type of heart problem? Possibly your subconscious is trying to tell you what happened to her.


I was orphaned or something similar in a past life. While it wasn't a terrible experience, I can identify with some of the feelings you describe, especially the strong latching-on to anyone or anything protective or inclusive. Best of luck!
 

Ailish

Administrator Emerita
Hi dark rosaleen,


I didn't pick up on any heart problems at the time, although with the poor nutrition and constant illness, I'm sure it was pretty common in those days to have weakened organs. In my case I was describing how Sarah was feeling emotionally at the time -- the physical ache that comes with a deep sadness. ;)


Do you have any memories of your pl you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them! :)


Aili
 

Karoliina

Moderator Emerita
Thanks for sharing, Aili. So sad :( , yet beautifully expressed.


I have some memories of being an orphaned little girl and working for my living. I believe this was in Scotland, but as the memories are still very scattered and I'm not sure of the era, I won't share more now. :)


Karoliina
 

dark rosaleen

Senior Registered
Hi, Ailish,


I have lots of memories of that lifetime, so that I'd have to open a new thread to share more than a few of them. I've posted a few here and there in threads where they were relevant. (But do you think I can remember where I left them? Noooo... :D )


A vivid one is of how I got to an orphanage in the first place. I was a very young child in a rather shabby room. There was bright morning light everywhere. Across the room, my mother lay on her bed. Her arm was hanging off the side of the bed as if she had dropped the bottle that was on the floor. I don't remember any sense of fear or sadness, or even understanding that she was dead.


The saddest thing about kids who have nobody, is their hunger for attachments, for belonging, makes them easy to manipulate, use, or even brainwash. That, I think, is why so many terrorist/racist/extremist groups seem to target them for recruitment.
 

Ailish

Administrator Emerita
Hi dark rosaleen,


What a terribly sad memory. :( Kind of makes you want to pick up that little child and hold her. You must have been really young at the time to have little understanding of your mother being gone.


It's really hard to hear about kids who have no one -- even sadder to me was when I took child psychology and my prof did a presentation on Romanian orphanages. He was discussing how children growing up in such places have never formed a primary attachment - and therefore don't know how to show empathy, or to bond with others. He presented cases to us - of children who were adopted into families and how hard it's been for them to adjust. That almost broke my heart. No child should ever have to experience that.


That being said -- I'd love to hear the rest of your memories! :D


Karoliina, I'd love to hear yours, too, when you're ready to share!


Aili
 

vanhalen50one50

Senior Registered
Hey Aili, I don't really have anything helpful to say :eek: , just that this is a really heart-touching thread. :D I'm reading along too. ;)
 

dark rosaleen

Senior Registered
Okay, here's more memories:


It seems that I was first sent to live with a relative, but it didn't work out. I remember trying to wash out black stockings in a sink and being petrified that someone would come home and I'd be in trouble.


I rode to the orphanage with a lady who I only remember as nice, although even today I could minutely describe the car's interior. (Probably it was the first time I had ridden in a car.)


The orphanage was a big improvement. The first night, I slept in a big room full of kids. A desk was near the door, with a little lamp on it. A lady sat at the desk doing paperwork. I got out of bed and asked her if she'd be there all night. She smiled and said something about it being her job to watch out for us. I felt such a sense of peace, knowing that someone was going to take care of me.


I was astonished when we all ate breakfast. The kids acted like I was weird for asking if we'd eat breakfast every day. This would have been in the Depression, so it wasn't that strange a question.
 

Ailish

Administrator Emerita
Awww, thanks for sharing dark rosaleen.


It sounds like you got into one of the better orphanages. Not an ideal situation, but at least you felt someone was caring for you - and they treated you well and you had food. :)


Do you know what your name was? Or how long you were there for? Or what happened to you? So many questions, I know, but I'm curious! :D


Aili
 

Yellow Roses

New Member
Irish orphanage memory


About 25 years ago I had a spontaneous dream of being in a very poor orphanage somewhere in the north of Ireland. I have been there all my life and am now in my teens I think. I am small framed, short and have black curly hair. Conditions are terrible, there are so many children to take care of with almost nothing. I'm old enough to leave but I don't because I won't leave the little ones to the English who seem to be somehow in charge of the place, and I have nowhere to go anyway. There is a young man there with me, somehow we both grew up there and he helps me. He is tall and red haired.


One day someone comes from the authorities to inspect the place and falls through the shabby flooring in the attic and dies along with a couple of the orphans. Rather than let the word get out about the deplorable conditions the young man and I are hustled to the docks to board a ship bound for America. All we have are the clothes on our backs. There are wooden ships in the harbor and it is foggy and cold. While we are waiting to board a ship someone falls overboard from a ship anchored there. The young man dives in and pulls him out of the water. The next thing I know I am on board a ship with the young man. He says to me "The captain will be after marrying us then."


The next thing that happens in the dream is several months later. We are living in a derelict, noisy wooden tenement and the name Philadelphia comes to me as the city. We are lying in a narrow straw bed and I am enormously pregnant. Because I am so small I am absolutely terrified of giving birth with only the women in the tenement to help me. We don't have money for a doctor or even a midwife because no one wants to hire the Irish. I woke up knowing I died in childbirth along with my baby. I am sure that the young man in the dream, my husband, was my daughter's father in this life. He looked a lot like the young man in the dream but was not so tall.


We were meant to have a child together and finally did. A few months after I had this dream I conceived my daughter. I woke up in the morning and told my boyfriend that I was going to have a red-haired daughter nine months from that day. It was a very difficult pregnancy but she was determined to come to me and finally did. I am sure that the only reason I was with him was to conceive her, and she is the light of my life and strong-willed as only a child who fought so hard for her life can be.
 

Deborah

Director Emerita
Staff member
Super Moderator
Welcome to the forum Yellow Roses,


You did a beautiful job telling your story. Very interesting. I find it fascinating that you not only remember growing up in the orphanage - but the circumstances in which you left there. It also makes perfect historical sense. Do you get a feeling for the time period?


Also -the way you have described the experience makes it sound like you believe the daughter is the same from before and this is her next life. Are you sure this is her next life after the previous birthing attempt? Just something to think about.

I am sure that the only reason I was with him was to conceive her, and she is the light of my life and strong-willed as only a child who fought so hard for her life can be.
Again, welcome. I hope you enjoy the space.
 

Karoliina

Moderator Emerita
Welcome to the forum, Yellow Roses! :)


Vivid memories there - and with Dark Rosaleen, too. Thanks for sharing! :thumbsup:


I still haven't worked more on that Scottish PL. I have many memories of being an orphan in the 1960's-1970's America, though. But I was a teenager then, and luckily had a loving mother and other relatives for the first 12 years or so of my life.


Karoliina
 

Yellow Roses

New Member
I think the time was some time during the early 1840's. Yes, I do think my daughter had other incarnations after that one.


When she was about 2 1/2 - 3 she used to talk frequently about the mean man in the kitchen who hit her and the house burned down in Yucaipa. (a town in California).


Interestingly, a few days after I had the dream about her birth the house we were living in burned down. I think that for a number of reasons we both just decided before this lifetime that the time was right for us to give it another try.
 

Sunniva

Administrator Emeritus
Aili,


Your memories brought tears to my eyes - really. It was so moving. I saw it all so vividly. Beautifully expressed.


Dark Rosaleen and Yellow Roses - your memories are amazing. Thank you for sharing - I can't wait to here more :)
 

dark rosaleen

Senior Registered
Hi, Yellow Roses,


Cool name, BTW! Your memory sounds like you were put on a "coffin ship," a pretty common governmental way of dealing with too many mouths to feed during the Irish Potato Famine.


Aili,


To answer your questions, my name was Anna. I have a memory from that life of looking at some paperwork in a ledger. I may have gotten curious and snuck into someone's office for a peek at my file, but not sure of this. I remember the year 1927 written in neat penmanship. For whatever reason, I think this was my birthdate.


At some point, I was sent to a boarding school-type situation. As a teenager, I went to some kind of youth rally and met Karl, who I later married. After the war, we lived in a small apartment in East Germany and worked in a steel factory. The name we used was Weiss. I say this because I'm pretty sure Karl wasn't using his real name at that point. East German authorities were very hard on anyone with a military background. I believe he switched identities with the dead son of family friends.


The interesting part is, I'm not sure what happened to him. If he's still alive, he'd be about eighty-two. Google search has turned up many people with that name in Germany. I haven't done anything about this so far, and not sure I will, mostly out of consideration for his feelings. As far as I can remember, he had no belief in an afterlife, so his formerly-dead wife would come as a total shock.:eek: From what I recall of him, he'd find it disturbing rather than comforting.
 

vanhalen50one50

Senior Registered
Hi Dark Rosaleen, Very interesting memory. I just thought I would add this tid-bit. :) Weiss or Weiß (pronounced as "Vice") (ß or ess-zet equals 2 s') means white which would probably explain why it is common surname in Germany. I hope that helps! :D
 

Ailish

Administrator Emerita
Hi dark rosaleen,


Wow! Those are some fantastic memories! Do you have any idea what happened to Anna? Did she continue to work in the steel factory? Or did she ever have a family with Karl? Do you know when or how she died?


It's intriguing to think that someone we were with in a past life could still be alive today. I have to admit to odd moments of curiosity regarding my last life in Italy - my family was planning on moving to the US just before my death. I often think that my brother and sister would be around the same age as my present day grandparents. I wonder if they're alive - how many children they had - what became of their lives....


Aili :)
 

Dreamweaver_nz

New Member
What an amazing account of a pl Ailish


I was wondering if you had any other recolections of the family you went and lived with as a servant? Especially of the girl who had something wrong with her legs and stayed in bed. Do you know how old she was etc?
 

Ailish

Administrator Emerita
Hi Dreamweaver,


Welcome to the forum. :D Thank you for your interest ;)


The little girl in the bed was a couple of years older than I was - so probably 9 when I first arrived. I believe there were four other children in the family besides her. The youngest was an infant - no more than 6 months (when I first arrived). My memories of the other children are very vague. I think I was the most fascinated by the girl in the bed - and her relationship with her mother. Simply because I'd never seen an adult comfort a child - and where I came from, if you couldn't work, you were pretty much considered "useless." ;)


The family was very kind - and very generous with me. I learned a lot from them in the short time we were together. :D


Aili
 

Dreamweaver_nz

New Member
My daughter has told me of a pl when her legs didnt work and she spent her life in her bed. She told me she died quite young , maybe around 9 0r 10 and was always sick. She also said she was always in a nighty type thing and never really got dressed but was able to look out a window. She also told me her Mother was a kind woman and they had servants. I guess yr pl reminded me of my daughters. :)


So thankyou very much for sharing this.
 

Ailish

Administrator Emerita
Awwwww, you're very welcome! :D Thank you for sharing about your daughter's life. Does she remember anything else about that time? Where she lived, or her name? Has your daughter spoken about any other past lives with you?


Aili
 

Dreamweaver_nz

New Member
Yes she has. She is now 12 but when younger she told me of several which i will put in the childrens section when i have some time. Unfortunatly she never told me names or places. At the time I never thought to write it down but i do remember a lot of it. My son who is 16 also spoke of a time when he died in a plane crash.
 
Top