Today, the Commission of Investigation has found that 56,000 unmarried mothers, some as young as 12, passed through, Ireland's mother and baby homes.
They were aged from just 12 years old to women in their 40s and they gave birth to 57,000 children in the institutions.
Here are some of the voices of those who were admitted to these homes and had to endure the horrendous conditions there.
I was told by a nun: 'God doesn't want you - you're dirt'.
My bag was packed and I was run out of the house.
My parents were very ashamed when they found out. They phoned the priest.
The birth father tried to abort the baby with pills, vodka and a coat hanger.
I began to cry (when dropped at the mother and baby home). The Sister punched me in the back and said: ‘You're here now and you’ll be here till you get rid of that child. You’ll be here again next year, you are only a prostitute anyway’.
I knew it was a home for girls in my situation and my own suggestion was that I would go away to hide the shame. The problem had gone away from my parents.
My memories are trying to escape with my pal from the abuse we were suffering. Everyday we got out of the room, we’d climb up using the big iron gate on to the big stone way that surrounded the place but the drop to the outside was too deep and we knew we’d break our legs if we jumped down.
I still have nightmares about the place and wonder how they could be so cruel to little children in a religious country.
One of the saddest tasks I had was ironing the little dresses for the babies to get them ready for when people were coming to see them.
The very sight of the nuns was to be forever frightening.
One young girl whose baby died at two months old wanted to see where her child was buried and was told by the nuns that ‘she shouldn’t know'.
Local farmers would come to the home looking for a wife.