1 entry for Mona HearneBack
The principal virtue claimed for the schools, by the utilitarian thinkers who championed them, was that they would equip the residents with skills, which would enable them in later life to survive by steady, if humble, employment. In the nineteenth century, this was accomplished in the case of girls. According to Ó Cinnéide and Maguire:17 Girls’ schools provided a narrower range of industrial training than boys schools, focusing on domestic service, laundry, and sewing. The majority of girls who left industrial schools went into domestic service. Indeed the schools were a vital source of domestic servants, particularly because the schools were among the few institutions that provided a coherent training program for domestic servants. Some schools, including High Park and St. George’s in Limerick, were particularly noted for their training program, and girls from these schools had no trouble securing work as servants. Goldenbridge Industrial School was also an important source of trained domestic servants. Mona Hearne, author of Below Stairs, shows that of the 877 girls discharged from Goldenbridge between 1880 and 1920, over 300 were placed in service; the nuns kept in touch with these girls for at least three years after discharge, and only rarely were bad reports received.