Shanore News

Musings, ramblings and thought provoking articles from our team of talented writers - all views expressed are their own!

The Exploitation in Ireland’s Asylums

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Photo courtesy of MorgueFile.

Why do you believe that spirits are so commonly found in abandoned asylums? Perhaps it is because society hasn’t truly appreciated their message yet. And secondly, what message would that be?

With Halloween on the horizon, I decided to take a look at some of the spookiest places to visit in Ireland. However, my research turned grim rather quickly. Many of the haunted places that we know of or hear of involved sinister people with borderline, eccentric practices. It is self-fulfilling to believe that these people must have invited evil into their lives somehow. However, what about those who did not illicit this energy into their lives?

Here is a very telling video which shows the abandoned remains of a famous asylum in Ireland, St. Kevin’s Hospital.

Ever go through a hard time or suffer something extremely traumatic? Well, be grateful that this didn’t occur to you in the 19th century of Ireland. If you had this experience then, chances were very likely that you would have been placed in a asylum.

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Photo courtesy of MorgueFile.

It seems barbaric yet; even cruel. Hanna Greally was one woman who lived to tell of her life spent inside an Irish Asylum. After witnessing the militia attacks of Would War II in England, Greally returned to Ireland and was persuaded to enter an asylum for “a rest.” She probably needed one, but what she got wasn’t what was advertised. Instead, Greally would face nearly twenty years of captivity at St. Loman’s Hospital. She entered of her free will with a understanding that her visit would be brief. However, once inside she was all but abandoned and forced to endure terrible accommodations for decades.

What is even more upsetting was that Greally was an emotionally balanced person. Yet, her basic rights and dignities were stripped away and she was left with no alternative. She finally left the asylum and wrote a book on her experiences called Bird’s Nest Soup.

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Photo courtesy of MorgueFile.

I wish I could say that her story was an isolated one, but I’m sure it wasn’t. In the 19th century, Irish asylums were designated to help rehabilitate those who needed specific mental health intervention. However, what was quickly realized was that these asylums or lunatic bins could be used as ditching spots for any person that society did not want to support.

Much of the time, the tortured or trapped clients did nothing wrong to deserve their plights. In fact, they were victims of the gaps that we so commonly see in society. The unwanted, misunderstood and neglected would all fall easy prey to such a system. And for what reason?

Perhaps, others thought that this doing away of certain people would make their lives more bearable. However, it cannot ever be construed as acceptable to displace humans who are not at fault. It only temporarily solves an emotional disturbance. And that solution comes at a huge cost to those who are innocent of wrongdoing.

It is no understatement that I am very glad I did not live in the 19th century. But, it is with great respect that I inventory the lives of those committed to such atrocious places. Sure, I do believe these places are in fact probably very haunted. I think it is because many lives were coerced into a lifetime of torture and pain. Karmically speaking, that never resolves the issues that brought them there. And perhaps the very reason they stick around is to make sure history does not repeat itself lest they get even louder.

 

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