The harrowing true story of a travelling Irish family bonded by love, broken apart by life, and then betrayed by their carers in a cruel convent in Ireland.
"For those who we lost along the way, I tell this story. For all the children who suffered in this terrible place. For all those I consider my brothers and sisters; the ones who died, the ones who lost their minds, the ones who drown their memories everyday in a bottle of whisky, I tell this for you.
Because in the end we are all brothers and sisters - and if we don't feel that bond of love between each other, just as human beings, then we are nothing. We are no better than the monsters that ran the convents."
Based in Ireland in the 1960s and 70s, Kathleen's story is a story of extreme hardship, suffering and abuse. It is the story of 11 siblings, abandoned by their mother and torn from their father, incarcerated in convents and then driven apart in the cruellest ways imaginable; it is the story of their ruined childhoods and their fight for recompense. But more than that, it is a story of courage, survival and the incredible strength of sibling bonds against overwhelming adversities.
Out of terrible darkness comes a remarkable story. In the tradition of Irish storytelling, Kathleen offers a mesmerising account of her family's experience.
Kathleen O'Shea is a pseudonym. When Kathleen was awarded compensation in 2002 under the Residential Institutions Redress Act for the abuse she endured in the convent she was forced to sign a gagging clause that prevents her from identifying herself or the institutions involved in her traumatic childhood. But she is still determined to speak out, so now does so anonymously.