By Bernadette Moran
Poor Bridget has just collapsed as she shuffles in the door of the reception area of the workhouse. Her skeleton of a baby was clinging tightly to her chest, quiet now. She crawls on her hands and knees pulling herself upwards using the wall for support. She’s covered in filthy rags, voiceless, helpless, destitute, ravenous and terrified. Three year old Mary has just been whipped from her skeletal fingers. That was the last straw. Tom is dragged along the flag floor, kicking and screaming, his tight grasp to his mother broken by the porter, as he wailed máthair, máthair; mother, mother. How had it come to this?