We have reached our goal of 1,000 signatures with over 500 digital and over 500 in hard copy Please continue to keep signing as more signatures helps to strengthen our case. Thank's to all who signed from myself and Toni Maguire.
Cillini are to be found in every town land in Ireland and throughout the world where the Irish took the Catholic tradition of burial with them. They were born out of the concept that a baby was not Christian until it was baptized and therefore not eligible in the eyes of the church to be buried in consecrated ground.
Relatives often went under cover of darkness and buried the babies in the family plot or to a place they considered sacred which ran the gamut from a crossroads to abandoned churches, holy wells and even such places that were known in local lore to be associated with fairies and supernatural phenomena. Strangers, mentally ill and people that were seen as being outside of society were also buried beyond the confines of consecrated ground.
In a kinder, gentler society, the tradition has all but died out, but lasted longer in the more rural and deeply Catholic areas of Ireland. Surprisingly, there have been cases reported as late as the 1980s.
H.U.G. (Hidden in Unconsecrated Ground) was formed in 2011. The group's goal is to find, record and mark the sites and the folklore associated with the burials and to bring some measure of closure to people who want to grieve openly for loved ones who were wrongfully interred. The driving force in all of this is Toni Maguire, an archaeologist based in Milltown Cemetery in Belfast, where she has been overseeing excavations to find the interments, along with offering comfort to relatives and coordinating with the local diocese, all of her own volition. Milltown Action Group play a huge role in this, too. Sign the petition here.
View The Wild Geese live panel on Cillini and Magdalene Laundries, featuring Toni Maguiire. (March 2013)