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A 12ft high grey granite wall runs the length of my back garden. The other side of this wall is the Dublin Bus Depot of Broadstone. During the 18th century this piece of land was once the site of a vegetable patch for a woman’s prison. As I sit here sunning myself I wonder what this place was like back then. As I let my imagination run riot I picture a scene of woman digging up spuds, and carrying sack loads to the prison kitchen. Did they enjoy this outdoor chore? Would they rather be in the kitchen peeling the spuds, scrubbing the stone floors? Why where they there in the first place? What crime did they commit?

I try to imagine what it would be like to live in this time. What if I
was a single mother rearing four or five children with no caring family or husband to support me? There certainly was no social security in those days. What if my husband was a drunk and the only way to survive was to put my older children in institutions and steal the
odd loaf of bread now and again. If I were caught, would I be imprisoned? Would I have to suffer the humiliation of being dragged through the streets by a policeman?

What would my life be like in prison? How would I be sentenced? What would I feel like once inside? What if I were pregnant? Imagine childbirth under those circumstances? Would my baby be taken away from me? The pain of losing a child or the thoughts of my other children taken away from me is unbearable.

With all of these thought in mind I decide to research the social history of my local area. (I start from 1772 to the present day) I took a day out and wondered around my local streets that include Rathdown Rd, and Grangegorman both upper and lower. I discovered old hospitals that are now apartment blocks. The ruins of workhouses and some of which are still standing and now places to practice yoga or a centre to exhibit new artists.

I was fascinated with all my findings and this encouraged me to further explore the history of this area. I made contact with the Chaplain of Grangegorman who had been working on the idea
for a Grangegorman museum for the past ten years. He had accumulated a huge amount of historical artefacts, some of which dates back to the 1800’s. This prompted us to start The Grangegorman Historical Society.

The result’s of our research was amazing and we found we had enough information to create our very own virtual museum. I hope you enjoy it.