Stillborn babies buried on remote Donegal island remembered

More than 200 people travelled to a remote island off the Donegal coast yesterday to remember more than 500 stillborn babies buried in a secret burial ground.

The children, all born between the 18th and 19th centuries, could not be buried on consecrated ground because they had not been baptised.

The poignant event was attended by representatives of the Church of Ireland and Catholic Church.

The memorial service took place after a campaign by local people to remember the children who were laid to rest on Oilean na Marbh, the Isle of the Dead, just off the coast at Carrickfinn.

Seamus Peter Boyle fromv Annagry, one of the founding campaigners to have a plaque erected on the island in honour of the dead, said he was happy the souls of those buried could now always be remembered.

Mr Boyle said for decades, people watched the mothers and fathers on the beaches and pier, some going to the island alone, and we knew but it was never really spoken about. Now, he said, there is a memorial cross and a commemorative stone to show that they will never be forgotten.

The memorial stone which was erected by the community ends with the words "Is e an Tiarna m'aoire", the Irish translation of The Lord's My Shepherd.