University launches Tuam mother-and-baby home oral history project

Day-long discussions involved Dr Catherine Corless and Tuam Home Survivors Network

A project aimed at collecting the personal histories of people born at the Tuam mother-and-baby home was launched in Galway on Thursday.

President of NUI Galway Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh launched the Tuam Oral History Project at the university following day-long discussions with members of the Tuam Home Survivors Network.

Researchers on the project will be Dr John Cunningham and Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley of NUI Galway's department of history.

Thursday's event, exploring the topic of archiving survivor histories, was co-organised by the department of history and the university's James Hardiman Library.


Proceedings were opened by Prof Pat Dolan, chair of Unesco's Child and Family Research Centre. A survivor-led workshop followed involving members of the Tuam Home Survivors Network.

Later two panel discussions explored issues surrounding the collection and archiving of oral histories from the home. Led by Breda Murphy of the network and Mary Cunningham of the Tuam Oral History Project it involved participants from the network, as well as invited students and staff.

A discussion on "Advocacy and Historical Justice" was moderated by archivist Catríona Crowe. The panel included Tuam local historian Dr Catherine Corless, journalist Conall Ó Fátharta, Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, and Prof Caroline McGregor of NUI Galway's school of political science and sociology.

The event concluded with a showing of the Mia Mullarkey documentary Mother and Baby and a discussion involving Ms Mullarkey, Breda Murphy, Peter Mulryan who was born in the Tuam mother-and-baby home, and Eunan Duffy who was born in the Marian Vale mother-and-baby home at Newry, Co Down.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times