New details on Grace
Farrell, woman who froze to death in NY
Was abandoned orphan in Ireland who felt deeply betrayed
By MOLLY MULDOON,
IrishCentral.com Staff Writer
March 5, 2011, 7:39 AM
MORE- Homeless Irish woman freezes to death in New York City
A childhood friend of Irish woman Grace Farrell has revealed tragic new
details about her life.
Grace Farrell, 35, was found dead in an alcove of St. Brigid’s
Catholic Church in the East Village on February 27. The homeless Irish
woman was the first person this year in New York to die from
Emmanuel Touhey, an Irish journalist now living in the U.S., grew up
with Farrell in the Daughters of Charity orphanage in Drogheda, Co.
Louth. He described the Irish woman’s life as one “of missed
opportunities and betrayal.”
“Grace was a beautiful and engaging child with a bright, sunny
disposition. She was warm and affectionate and full of fun. She smiled
often and loved to laugh, deeply,” Touhey recalls in his tribute in
the 'Local East Village Blog' section of The New York Times.
Farrell was born out of wedlock to a young unmarried couple in the 1970s
Ireland. Due to the stigma related to having a child out of
marriage, Grace’s mother gave her up for adoption.
For the first six years of her life, Grace lived in a happy environment
with her new family. However, because the adoption was not finalized
Grace was forced to return to the foster care system.
Her next stint in a foster home only lasted a few months before she was
once again returned to the foster system.
“Grace never understood why the first placement failed, but she surely
felt the awful rejection that came with the experience.
“Grace was a very intuitive child and at times shockingly honest. She
often reflected on how alone she felt in the world with no one of her
own that she was connected to,” Touhey recalled.
Touhey remembers how Grace explained why her second foster home didn’t
work out: “Do you know the way you can’t put hot food into a cold
fridge? Well, I was the hot food and the foster family was the cold
Farrell was eventually reunited with her paternal grandparents, but they
did not become a permanent feature in her life.
Touhey says Farrell was “bounced around like a ball from one home to
another,” and as a result she was let down by the authorities in
Ireland, as well as the adults in her life.
In 1993, both childhood friends immigrated to New York, where Farrell
met her ex-husband. A once aspiring artist, she fell victim to a life of
addiction that would eventually take her life.
Touhey hadn’t heard from his childhood friend until his read of her
Farrell is survived by her 12-year-old son, Oliver Muniz, who lives with
his father Al in New York.
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