Poverty Before the Famine, County Clare 1835
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Clare County Library

Parish Killaloe. Barony Tulla.


AT present there are three deserted children in the parish ; and one in the year will form about the average ; they are all considered to be illegitimate, and from the high moral character the parish has always maintained, it is not conceived that any woman could be so devoid of principle as to expose her child born in wedlock. Some of the mothers have been traced by the exertions of the parishioners, which has had the effect of checking the practice. The three deserted children in this parish are in charge of the churchwarden, and by him sent out to nurse ; but further than the existence, and the name of the nurse, the churchwarden confessed that he knew nothing about them. The sum designed for the support of the children has been levied on the parish by a vote of the vestry, and as it forms the only remnant of the church cess, a most decided repugnance has been evinced to the collection of it, and it is supposed that it will not be possible to obtain it next year. The Rev. Mr. Vaughan states, that there are three objections to it on the part of the people : first, that sufficient vigilance has not been used to discover the guilty parties ; second, that too much is allowed for the collection of the money ; third, the support given acts as an encouragement to the crime. There is no apprentice fund for foundlings, but when they grow up they take to different occupations. The Assistant Commissioners visited one of the children, and found the woman who had it in charge fondling it in her arms. The little orphan looked very healthy, and from its apparent affection to its nurse, seemed to have met kindly treatment. The woman said she had weaned her own child at nine months to nurse it ; and added, she would never wish to part with it, though she had not for a long time received what was due to her for nursing it. She did not express any disinclination to continue bearing her gratuitous burthen.

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