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Sacred Heart Bessboro

The Sacred Heart Sisters came to Bessboro House in Cork in 1922 at the invitation of Bishop Cohalan. According to Mike Millotte's Banished Babies, 98 babies were secretly exported from Bessboro to the US for adoption.  June Goulding's book The Light in the Window provides an excellent insight into practices at Bessboro.  Astonishingly, despite past practices, Bessboro still runs services for unmarried mothers.  


Bessboro also holds records for: The Catholic Women's Aid Society, The Children's Welfare League, Sean Ross Abbey and Sacred Heart Castlepollard.

At present we have no further information regarding Bessboro.  Please contact us at heritage@adoptionrightsalliance.com if you have further  information that may help.

Records for Bessboro are now held at:


Child and Family Agency
Regional Adoption Services
Páirc Na gCrann
St Stephen’s Hospital
Sarsfield Court
Co. Cork
Phone: 021 4858650

Photos were kindly donated by our US Coordinator, Mari Steed, who is one of Bessboro's alumni.  Further photos and information can be found on her website.

Click on the thumbnails to see larger images.






Click here for additional photos from Bessboro, courtesy of Mari Steed

Click Here to Visit Our Search and Reunion Page

Click here for documents and photos specifically relating to adoptions to the US

Click here to return to History and Heritage

Please note we have gathered the information from survivor accounts and what little records are available to the public.  Until the religious run agencies open their records it will not be possible to compile a full history of past adoption practice in Ireland.  If you have any corrections, contact us at  heritage@adoptionrightsalliance.com 

“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting loneliness." 

Alex Haley, Author of Roots 





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