A Boy, Two Brothers, A Stolen Childhood

Michael Clemenger
Holy Terrors

Chilling, passionate and unflinching, this is the story of how one boy survived the terrors of Ireland’s notorious institutions and made a real life for himself.

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424 pages
196x130 mm

Also available as an Electronic Book (ePub)


‘Which of us do you prefer?’

As a baby, Michael Clemenger was handed over to the unloving care of a religious-run children’s home. Aged eight, he was transferred to St Joseph’s Industrial School in Tralee, Co. Kerry.

Chosen as their ‘favourite’ by two Christian Brothers, Michael endured years of sexual abuse at the hands of both men. Brother Price would strike at night, while Brother Roberts took his pleasure in a weekly bathtime ritual. And even their ‘protection’ did not save the boy from merciless beatings at the hands of other sadistic Brothers in the notorious institution.

Despite the unbelievable trauma of his early life, Michael emerged unbroken, determined to make something of himself, and also to find the mother he had never known.

A story of remarkable spirit and courage, set against a background of the prejudices and neglect of Irish society in the 1960s.

'a gripping memoir'

Irish Examiner

'a gripping account that gives disturbing insight into the hypocrisy of a sordid side of Irish life'

Irish Examiner

'Michael Clemenger’s story is of survival in depraved and horrific circumstances'

Irish Examiner

'though a harrowing read, the book is ultimately uplifting'

The Kerryman

'despite its grim subject matter, Holy Terrors is an uplifting read'

The Kerryman


Meath Chronicle


The Kerryman


The Kingdom


The Kingdom


Reader Reviews

Absolutely gripping! I honestly couldn't put the book down. I read it twice just to make sure I missed nothing. My grandfather was subjected to similar forms of abuse and before he died he told me about the so-called childhood he had and how he dealt wit

Mat on 6th February 2012

Thank you for having the courage to write this book

Honorah on 28th February 2011

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