February 23, 1943

On this day in 1943, St. Joesph’s Orphanage in Co. Cavan suffered a major tragedy. Thirty six people were lost in a fire, thirty five of whom were children. St. Joseph’s was founded in 1861 by the Poor Clares, or the Order of Saint Clare. On the night of February 23, a fire began in the laundry house due to an electrical fault. No one noticed until about 2:00 am. People from the community attempted to help put out the fire, however it became too large and blocked any way of getting to the girls. The local fire brigade arrived too late and did not have the proper equipment, such as a ladder. Only five girls were rescued from the infamously tragic blaze.

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