An industrial school survivor has said growing up she was never told the date of her birth and called by a number instead of her name.
Miriam was taken to Pembroke Alms Industrial School in Tralee, County Kerry when she was a baby and her mother fell sick with TB.
In the years that followed she endured emotional abuse that she still finds difficult to discuss.
“Everything that happened in there was horrific,” she told Lunchtime Live.
When she arrived, she was assigned number 1,061 and that was the only thing the nuns called her during her time at Pembroke Alms.
“We were never called our names and, to me, your name is so important,” she said.
Miriam said “not every nun inside there was cruel” but that all girls at the school endured cruelty and one particular form of abuse stands out to this day.
“They would take you out of your bed at nighttime,” she said.
“They would bring you out to a place called ‘the dark yard’... and they’d tell you to strip and go into a wooden box - which looked to me like a coffin.
“It was for firewood, where they kept little sticks, and you were sent to lie there [and told], ‘Don’t move.’
“Naked, all night.”
That night, it did not rain and Miriam fell asleep counting the stars in the sky above her.
“The next thing I remembered my nightie being given back to me and told to get ready for Mass.”
Miriam has said it is important the suffering of those who survived industrial schools is remembered and that a memorial is urgently needed.
“That’s why something needs to be put somewhere - because we were promised it,” she said.
“The money is there since October 2009.”
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