The Magdalene Laundries

 Posted by on July 23, 2010  Add comments
Jul 232010
 

This is the mass grave in Limerick’s Mount Saint Lawrence cemetery where the victims of the Good Shepherd nuns are buried.  Read the names and recognise real people. These women served your parents or your grandparents, handed them their laundry and said Thanks Ma’am.  Nobody asked why, or by what authority, these women were imprisoned and enslaved.

Our society — my grandparents, your grandparents, your parents, my parents, were content to let these women slave their lives away in a prison run by nuns, and nobody asked why.

Shame on us.

___________________

Social Justice incarnated in the person of Jesus the Good Shepherd is our role model. The core Gospel values of human dignity, human rights and care of the environment are central to our mission. — Good Shepherd Sisters social justice policy

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1911 Census
Guards:

Haugh Bridget 63 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Cahill Margaret 55 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Van Nuvenhove Amelia 90 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Grennan Ellen 79 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Keegan Teresa 79 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
O’Keeffe Anne 71 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Curtayne Mary 58 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Raleigh Teresa Anne 59 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Reddick Julianna 65 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Lyne Margaret 56 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
O’Meara Bridget 73 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Kennedy Bessie 61 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Delaney Johanna 64 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Curtin Nora 57 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Lynskey Margaret 55 Female Head of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Scholard Nora 41 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
Scott Fanny 46 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
Kearns Ellen 38 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
Comerford Mary 33 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
OSullivan Kate 45 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
Mc Auliffe Fanny 45 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
Comerford Kate 32 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
Webb Lizzie 30 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
Twohig Ellen 40 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
Howlett Kate 30 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
Murphy Margaret 29 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
OConnell Mary 25 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
White Mary 29 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
Hearn Florence 29 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
Cahill Helen 23 Female Religious of the Good Shepherd Community Roman Catholic
Kennedy Mary 55 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Mc Carthy Kate 46 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Calhane Jane 47 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Mc Donnell Kate 40 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Gannon Kate 42 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Prendergast Mary 47 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Mc Donagh Agnes 43 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Heara Bridget 47 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
O’Dwyer Agnes 40 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Hogan Bridget 41 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
O’Mahony Mary 36 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Cregan Johana 42 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
ODriscoll Margaret 39 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
OKeeffe Aileen 39 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Fennelly Sara 40 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
OConnell Johanna 65 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
ONeill Honora 64 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Tyrrell Mary 49 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Mc Mahon Margaret 52 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Boyle Mary 47 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Buckley Margaret 44 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Hanrahan Mary 50 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Ryan Kate 45 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
O’Shaughnessy Mary 45 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Kelly Agnes 37 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Fitzgibbon Mary 35 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Connolly Kate 31 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Murphy Ellen 34 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Connolly Mary 30 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Hickey Joan 27 Female Members of the Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Lyne Mary 60 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Whelan Mary 24 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Lawless Margaret 29 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Quinlan Alice 25 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Mc Carthy Nora 26 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Hickey Ellen 23 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Mullins Mary 27 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Kehoe Mary 33 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
O’Brien Josephine 20 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Laffan Kate 26 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
O’Loughlin Bridget 23 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Kelly Teresa 20 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Brooks Kathleen 21 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Boland Kate 27 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Conway Cecilia 22 Female Head of the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Mc Evay Ellen 30 Female Members of Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Maloney Sara 45 Female Members of Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Mahon Lizzie 41 Female Members of Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Flynn Hanna 39 Female Members of Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
OConnell Johanna 34 Female Members of Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
OConnor Eliza 37 Female Members of Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Curran Mary 36 Female Members of Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Loughren Lizzie 31 Female Members of Community of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic
Collins Mary 20 Female Visitor Roman Catholic
Collins Nora 18 Female Visitor Roman Catholic
Collins Constance 16 Female Visitor Roman Catholic
Gillispie Kate 25 Female Roman Catholic
McNamara Anne 29 Female Roman Catholic
Doolan Anne 50 Female Roman Catholic
Farrell Rosanna 20 Female Roman Catholic
OConnor Mary 55 Female Roman Catholic
Mc Auliffe Maggie 25 Female Roman Catholic
Cournane Mary 32 Female Roman Catholic
Omara Mary 25 Female Roman Catholic
Neal Mary 30 Female Roman Catholic
Browne Ennly 37 Female Roman Catholic
Nearty Maggie 29 Female Roman Catholic
Kennedy Crissie 18 Female Roman Catholic
Conway Sarah 18 Female Roman Catholic
Murphy Nano 56 Female Roman Catholic
Tierney Catherine 35 Female Roman Catholic
ONeill Johanna 50 Female Roman Catholic
Boyd Agnes 19 Female Roman Catholic
Fennell Kate 28 Female Roman Catholic
Cahill Kate 21 Female Roman Catholic
Callaghan Bride 18 Female Roman Catholic
Ellis Norab 51 Female Roman Catholic
Luzzia Norab 45 Female Roman Catholic
Moore Mary 22 Female Roman Catholic
Martya Kate 17 Female Roman Catholic
Reddan Mary 50 Female Roman Catholic
Gallaher Norah 50 Female Roman Catholic
Mcamy Ellie 19 Female Roman Catholic
Roche Lizzie 29 Female Roman Catholic
Murphy Mary 18 Female Roman Catholic
Laughnane Mary 16 Female Roman Catholic
Richey Jannie 65 Female Roman Catholic
Harrington Julia 28 Female Roman Catholic
Webbe Mary 22 Female Roman Catholic
Slaymaker Ellie 42 Female Roman Catholic
Mulhall Maggie 18 Female Roman Catholic
Moloney Ellie 22 Female Roman Catholic
Molloy Mary 70 Female Roman Catholic
Sheehan Mary 45 Female Roman Catholic
Sheehy Catherine 56 Female Roman Catholic
OConnor Molly 40 Female Roman Catholic
Lowe Isabel 42 Female Roman Catholic
Quinlan Mary 73 Female Roman Catholic
Ryan Margaret 45 Female Roman Catholic
Brohan Annie 20 Female Roman Catholic
ODwyer Mary 24 Female Roman Catholic
OMoore Norah 65 Female Roman Catholic
Fitzgerald Jannie 48 Female Roman Catholic
Madigan Mary 49 Female Roman Catholic
Noonan Kate 50 Female Roman Catholic
Gleeson Grace 31 Female Roman Catholic
Geraghty Mary 44 Female Roman Catholic
Dunne Mary 48 Female Roman Catholic
OConnor Kate 48 Female Roman Catholic
Keogh Mary 41 Female Roman Catholic
Murray Mary 50 Female Roman Catholic
Mc Malon Annie 45 Female Roman Catholic
Mc Namara Mary 28 Female Roman Catholic
Sisk Mary 21 Female Roman Catholic
Cotter Sarah 50 Female Roman Catholic
Hoffman Delia 45 Female Roman Catholic
Reddan Mary 43 Female Roman Catholic
O Shaughnessy Josephine 20 Female Roman Catholic
Mc Donagh Winnie 47 Female Roman Catholic
Ratigan Bridget 20 Female Roman Catholic
Flanagan Maggie 17 Female Roman Catholic
ONeill Louisa 31 Female Roman Catholic
Dempsey Maggie 22 Female Roman Catholic
Dowe Mary 63 Female Roman Catholic
Rice Katie 22 Female Roman Catholic
Gallagher Nellie 18 Female Roman Catholic
Edwards Delia 33 Female Roman Catholic
Trennich Teresa 25 Female Roman Catholic
O Kieffe Ellie 70 Female Roman Catholic
Barrett Mary 35 Female Roman Catholic
Harrington Katie 43 Female Roman Catholic
Carroll Jane 73 Female Roman Catholic
Fatturs Kate 18 Female Roman Catholic
Corre Catherine 76 Female Roman Catholic
Mc Donnell Mary 34 Female Roman Catholic
OConnor Molly 73 Female Roman Catholic
Barrett Mary 59 Female Roman Catholic
Madigan Annie 53 Female Roman Catholic
Warton Mary 38 Female Roman Catholic
Gettans Hanah 42 Female Roman Catholic
Lunhan Catherine 29 Female Roman Catholic
Watson Mary 45 Female Roman Catholic
Purcell Ellen 50 Female Roman Catholic
Kildea Mary 75 Female Roman Catholic
Sloan Rose 36 Female Roman Catholic
Moylan Mary 45 Female Roman Catholic
Reddan Mary 35 Female Roman Catholic
Hanagan Annie 33 Female Roman Catholic
Bourke Mary 41 Female Roman Catholic
Mc Dermott Bridget 24 Female Roman Catholic
Griffin Norah 28 Female Roman Catholic
Prisoners:

 

Williams Elizabeth 19 Female Roman Catholic
Quinlan Mary 18 Female Roman Catholic
Condren Mary 17 Female Roman Catholic
Nagle Kate 17 Female Roman Catholic
Twohey Elizabeth 17 Female Roman Catholic
O’ Halloran Kate 17 Female Roman Catholic
Regan Elizabeth 17 Female Roman Catholic
Long Hannah 15 Female Roman Catholic
Campbell Mary 17 Female Roman Catholic
Twohey Ellen 16 Female Roman Catholic
Guerin Kate 16 Female Roman Catholic
Kennedy Kathleen 16 Female Roman Catholic
Fitzgerald Josephine 16 Female Roman Catholic
Barry Margaret 15 Female Roman Catholic
Whelan Christina 15 Female Roman Catholic
Noonan Christina 15 Female Roman Catholic
Guerin Bridget 16 Female Roman Catholic
Ryan Bridget 14 Female Roman Catholic
Mc Mahon Elizabeth 15 Female Roman Catholic
Leahy Christina 16 Female Roman Catholic
Sexton Elizabeth 16 Female Roman Catholic
Walshe Margaret 15 Female Roman Catholic
Sheridan Catherine 16 Female Roman Catholic
Sheridan Elizabeth 15 Female Roman Catholic
O’ Halloran Nora 14 Female Roman Catholic
Browne Mary A 14 Female Roman Catholic
Foley Mary 13 Female Roman Catholic
Burns Mary 13 Female Roman Catholic
Moriarty Mary 15 Female Roman Catholic
O’ Driscoll Mary 15 Female Roman Catholic
Heffernan Ellen 17 Female
Quinn Bridget 14 Female Roman Catholic
Creaton Ellen 15 Female Roman Catholic
Carney Mary 14 Female Roman Catholic
Barry Sarah 13 Female Roman Catholic
Smith Christina 13 Female Roman Catholic
Mc Grath Annie 14 Female Roman Catholic
Mc Grath Agnes 13 Female Roman Catholic
Magee Mary 14 Female Roman Catholic
Murray Christina 16 Female Roman Catholic
Fitzgerald Margaret 15 Female Roman Catholic
Mc Carthy Mary 12 Female Roman Catholic
Mc Carthy Margaret 12 Female Roman Catholic
Guinane Christina 13 Female Roman Catholic
Guinane Bridget 11 Female Roman Catholic
Doyle Margaret 13 Female Roman Catholic
Qulligan Margaret 13 Female Roman Catholic
Collins Ellen 14 Female Roman Catholic
Russell Kate 14 Female Roman Catholic
Russell Lily 13 Female Roman Catholic
Gallaghan Mary A 13 Female Roman Catholic
Reardon Mary 15 Female Roman Catholic
Quilligan Margaret 13 Female Roman Catholic
Harrington Mary 13 Female Roman Catholic
Harrington Ellen 12 Female Roman Catholic
Blake Margaret 14 Female Roman Catholic
Lowe Nora 12 Female Roman Catholic

  53 Responses to “The Magdalene Laundries”

Comments (52) Pingbacks (1)
  1.  

    The culture of the time Bock .. total hypocrisy at every level, fear and ignorance. No excuse of course, locking some-one because they got pregnant.

  2.  

    So many souls. I can’t believe that torture was so acceptable for so long.

  3.  

    Really glad you put this up.
    My youngest daughter spent a lot of time last year researching ” The Good Shepherd ” She unearthed some truly shocking stuff.
    In reality it was’nt so long ago at all that it was all happening there, It seemed from what she found that nobody cared, Nobody came forward, Nobody gave a fuck as they tucked into their starched sheets.
    Yet another horror for people to be ashamed of.

  4.  

    It was one of the many benefits of independence.

  5.  

    Ferdia, not only because they got pregnant, but because they were raped, or were too sexy for the pillars of society, or were contrary, or didn’t want to marry the man their parents chose or didn’t want to marry at all, or the local priest wanted to get rid of his own shame (go figure), or they were too headstrong, or they were poor, or they were simply inconvenient for whatever reason.

    It was all born out of a brainwashing religion which taught that women are useless and disposable unless they produce more obedient sheep and stick to the kitchen sink.

    And the nuns who abused them might have been women too, but they were women with such an ingrained hatred of their own gender and so much greed for easy slave labour and hence money that they were all too willing to serve the god of greed and absolute power. But that’s another story.

    That nobody did anything about it, well, a church run state with the fear of god preached into all and sundry – what do you expect?

    It reminds me of the question I’ve been asked a million times (as a German): Why did almost all the Germans comply with the Nazis?

    One (and only one!) answer might be that it is easier to close your eyes and ears and just “get on with your life”. Human nature, I assume. But it’s not meant as an apology for ignorance.

    Anyway, when I first learned about the Magdalene Laundries I thought that it is one of the most horrible thing a society could do to their own people and where a society showed their most cruel face. Still something I get quite upset about.

    P.S.: I’m sure there are other horrible things in this and any other society. But that’s not the point in this post.

    Thanks for the pics, Bock. I didn’t know about this place, and it is a small comfort to put names to the victims.
    Nowadays victims are called survivors. The women of the laundries certainly weren’t and hardly ever had the chance to be survivors.

  6.  

    I hate that PC nonsense about survivors. These people were victims.

    It’s true what you say about the German people who lived near the camps, and you might equally say it about Polish people, or Ukrainians. But there were also Irish people near the Christian Brothers’ prisons who were happy to hunt down escaped children and return them to a regime of rape and beatings. The degree might be different, but not the attitude

  7.  

    Jesus-motherfucking-christ BOCK. I am so incensed by this.
    All I was hoping for was a good nights sleep, but being me I had to log in here.
    A good nights sleep is out the window now.
    But, well done you; you bollix!

  8.  

    Bock, I remember my mother telling us, that, if they were misbehaving, her mother would threaten them as children, to pay the “half crown” herself to have them put in to the Good Shepherd, so, I can only assume there was a administration charge for this imprisonment.

  9.  

    i went to LSAD so i know the good shepherd well. when we moved in there in my first year there were still things lying around in some of the rooms. a prayer book, the odd rosary etc.. our first few weeks there we were given a drawing assignment where we had to explore the building and the stark contrast between the nun’s rooms and the benches where the girls and women had to sleep made me weep. i was a sheltered young anglican daughter at the time and i literally had no experience of nor had i ever even heard of these kinds of institutions. i’ll never forget that feeling of sad stillness in the place. do you remember ”Fr Willy’s Trift Shop” in St john’s square? is it still there? it had a sign in the window that said ”closed July and Agust”…. i used to frequent it in my art college days stocking up on shirts for 50p and jeans for £1… anyway one of the women told me a story of how she was born in the good shepherd. such a lovely woman. she said it made her so happy that the place was now taken over by happy young people. i don’t think those walls will ever be rid of the horrors they must have witnessed over the years though.

  10.  

    A Glorious Republic.

    Thank God for Saint Patrick.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7H4HumAbTU

    All we need is a couple more tenners and the job is oxo.

  11.  

    “Hail, glorious St. Patrick, dear saint of our isle,
    On us thy poor children bestow a sweet smile;”

    Who is this cunt St Patrick, and how much “bestowing of sweet smiles” does it take before people wake up?

    Is that the sweet smile of a rapist priest?

    Or is just the common or garden sweet smile of a psychopathic “Christian” “Brother”?

    Still, that bunch of fuckers only cost us €1.3bn.

    Cheaper than Anglo.

    “Hail, glorious St. Patrick, thy words were once strong
    Against Satan’s wiles and a heretic throng;”

    Well here’s the thing St. Patrick.

    You may have got rid of the snakes, but in Ireland, Satan won.

    And that would be hands down.

    “Oh, come to our aid, in our battle take part!”

    Now would be good you useless sack of mythological shit.

    “In a war against sin, in the fight for the faith,
    Dear Saint, may thy children resist to the death;”

    Well Pat, they tried to resist. But after all of the beatings and the rape some of them were murdered by your sheep. Can’t have the raped and beaten telling stories against your “Church” now, can we?

    “May their strength be in meekness, in penance, and prayer,
    Their banner the Cross, which they glory to bear.”

    Hey Pat,

    Fuck meekness. Fuck penance. Fuck prayer. Fuck the “Cross” you brought to Ireland.

    Oh, and Pat. Fuck you.

    “Thy people, now exiles on many a shore,
    Shall love and revere thee till time be no more;”

    Sorry Pat, you stupid cunt. We’re not buying your shit anymore.

    Go sell it to Africa.

    “And our hearts shall yet burn, wherever we roam,
    For God and St. Patrick, and our native home.”

    Bollocks and shite.

  12.  

    Bridget Whelan Died 7th Feb 1901.

  13.  

    Bridget Comerford Died 22 July 1958.

  14.  

    I hope the scum who ran those concentration camps died in the agony of knowing that they had lived a life of evil.

  15.  

    Bock, thank you for taking the time to stop and look at these things that we don’t take the time to do. Thanks for taking these pictures. I, for one had no idea such a grave existed. Thought provoking, poor souls

  16.  

    For another dose of the reality, look at the census archives:

    http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Limerick/Limerick_No__1_Urban/Clare_Street/625494/
    http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai002747264/

    This extract from the 1901 census shows a staggering total of 347 occupants between the convent, industrial and reformatory schools complex in Clare Street, if I’m reading it correctly:

    http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000992959/

    Scroll to the bottom of the page

  17.  

    A million thanks, Bock, for further highlighting this important issue. This IS a recent crime, as several posters have noted above…the last laundry closed in 1996 and there are still many survivors now living under the elder care of the very religious orders they slaved for. And we still need everyone’s help to fight for justice for these women. I understand the German/Nazi analogy offered by carrig above. But let’s face it — the Irish public were just as accountable for sending their daughters, mothers, grannies, sisters and aunts to laundries as State and Church. Eventually we all have to own up this horror and bring about restorative justice, which starts with acknowledgment and an apology.

    Magdalene survivors were cruelly omitted from the 2002 Redress Act by a government which initially decried any complicity in remanding them to these hell-holes, stating they’d ‘entered voluntarily’ and were ‘adults’ and were ‘free to leave of their own accord.’ If the latter was the case, then why were girls and women dragged back by the Gardai if they tried to escape? The only way out was if your family PAID your way out, or you ‘behaved’ enough to earn a work referral from the nuns, as my mother did, and go off to work in a hospital as a ward aide or domestic. Or you died…as these seven grave markers attest.

    Even more recently and egregiously (as stated by Batt O’Keeffe), the State tried to convince us these women were ’employees.’ Fumbling on the outcry over that language, O’Keeffe then tried to switch gears, calling them ‘workers’ (both terms would imply a wage, fair working conditions, holidays and a pension) . Now the State finally admits complicity in remanding them (through courts and by moving them as children from industrial schools to the Laundries on the sly). Ireland signed on to an anti-slavery treaty in the 1930s, yet the practice existed behind every Magdalene laundries’ door right on up to 1996.

    The road to justice is still long and we’ve miles to go before we sleep. I urge everyone to sign our petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/leadership-needed-on-magdalene-laundries (the first 1,000 signatures have already been hand-delivered to Brian Cowen); to read and understand more about the laundries at the link supplied by Bock above; to urge State and Church to issue a formal apology; and to urge the religious orders who ran them into making their records available. I would also encourage readers to explore more on the auxilliary to the Laundries and the mores of the day: the trafficking of children for adoption from Ireland to the US (more than 2,000 between the 1940s and the early 1970s).

    And if anyone recognizes a family name from any of the Limerick graves shown above or listed in text at our website, feel free to let us know and we can help you restore that woman’s dignity and your own family history.

  18.  

    I am fairly sure some of those nuns still live somewhere in proximity to the ex laundry, I remember last year during the research my daughter was carrying out, She tried to get access to them but was shut out.
    During the ” research ” time she coincidently brought the subject up with her Uncle, Who was quite the boy soprano in his day, He told her that our Grandmother had arranged for him to go there and sing for the girls, Now neither he or I know how or why this was arranged by her, As she was C of I and a very austere type of woman, Apparantly one of the priests in the school he attended tried to discourage him for going there by telling him ” All those girls are prostitutes, you can’t sing for them ” He told us that when he told our Grandmother this, She went to the priests house with her walking stick and gave him hell !
    I wish I knew what if any connection she had there or why she wanted him to sing there, She was a real Matriarch and we were all a bit scared of her but she must have had some hidden depths of fortitude to attack a priest back then in defence of the suffering girls and children in that awful place.

  19.  

    Bock, I should also add that we prefer the term ‘survivors’ because it implies strength as opposed to the weakness of the term ‘victim.’ But then I also prefer the term bastard to ‘illegimate.’ I’d rather be a bastard any day of the week than a non-legitimate (?) person. Or as I like to say, “I was born a bastard…what’s your excuse?”

    I try not to let semantics get in the way of everything…the ongoing argument over the terms ‘natural mother’ in Ireland vs. ‘birthmother’ or ‘biological’ or ‘first’ mother in the U.S. can drive me batty sometimes. Ditto with those who are squeamish about being bastards. That which we call a rose and all that rot. But sometimes a label can empower (and it’s a safe bet empowerment was not a concept for these women while they toiled under the cruelty of their own sex), and if the women who managed life outside of the Laundries (like my mother) prefer to be called a survivor rather than a victim, then fair play and more power to them.

  20.  

    @Norma: my natural father (who was born in Dublin but had family ties in Limerick and C of I relatives as well) was also a boy soprano. How serendipitous and ironic would it be if they were one and the same man, considering my father ended up impregnating a former Magdalene? I think I actually remember your daughter’s research…I believe she contacted us for information. Not surprising the nuns wouldn’t allow her access. They’ve much to hide.

  21.  

    @ Culchiewoman. Thats fairly amazing ! As far as i know all the family were born in Limerick, both city and county but we apparantly have quite the chequered past ! One of my brothers is a bit obsessive about all the history so i’ll dig around a bit more.
    Last year my daughter contacted a lot of groups and people to gain information, For her it was an unbelievable situation to have been allowed to exist.
    That particular order of nuns came originally from France with the sole purpose of ” Helping ” what they referred to as the ” Street Ladies ” My daughter is away travelling at the moment but when she gets home i will take a long look at what she discovered.
    I was the child of what was called then a ” mixed marriage ” My Father was Cof I and very anti all religion, very forward thinking for his time, My Mother was the total opposite, browbeaten by an angry right wing ultra Catholic Father, So at least it was’nt boring !!
    I actually know very little about my Grandmother, She was very private, but after she died we found her passport, She was extremly well travelled to places people may not even venture to to-day, she never spoke about it and its an intriging mystery, I’m curious myself now.
    Take good care of yourself and thanks for the contact.

  22.  

    I call the people in the mass grave victims because they didn’t survive.

  23.  

    @ Culchiewoman re comment 18. Just a bit of humour, My daughter who did the research refers to herself as ” The Bastard ” now i hope i’m not revealing her privacy here but we find it hilarious, I did’nt marry her Father as i was old enough by then not to be subject to such bureauracy twice ! Its refreshing and productive to engender that great sense of honesty and humour about life.
    Every time I hear her say ” Hello i’m the bastard in the family ” it just cracks me up.

  24.  

    Thanks, Bock…understood on the ‘victim’ thing, and you’re right. Those under the earth are certainly not ‘survivors’ in any sense of the word. Sorry, I was referring to the population still living.

  25.  

    @Norma: ah, yes…another proud bastard! Kudos to her! I’m actually 3rd generation myself. Mammy didn’t marry daddy, and my granny had 4 children out of wedlock in Wexford in the 20’s and 30’s…how she didn’t end up in a laundry (or stoned to death) herself remains a mystery. Although after baby #4, she did get shipped off to her sister’s in Manchester and probably told to “marry, or else!” She never told her husband and 6 other children about the 4 left scattered in Ireland. I perpetuated the legacy by having my eldest daughter out of wedlock here in the US in 1978, my senior year of Catholic high school (and believe me, the nuns at the Philadelphia maternity home I suffered through weren’t much better than 1950’s-60’s Ireland) and was forced to relinquish her for adoption. Found her in 1997 and we now share a close, loving relationship. She continued the legacy further, having her own eldest daughter unmarried, but then went an un-bastardized her and her younger sister by marrying the father! Damn her! (Just kidding). We just aren’t the marrying-before-children type, genetically, I suppose.

  26.  

    For those interested in learning more about the Magdalene Laundry system in Ireland, please go to the JFM website at http://www.magdalenelaundries.com

    There is an online petition link on the homepage directed at the Irish prime minister

    Of interest too, there is a link to the Names Project which lists the 1911 Census Date for the Limerick Magdalene Laundry (1911 is the most recent census date available on line … and given the fact that the nuns do no provide any access to information for women entering these institutions after 1 Jan 1900, this is a key source). If one compares the names from the 1911 census with the names on these headstones, you can see that some women spent decades working unpaid in these institutions before dying behind convent walls and being buried in what amount to mass graves, e.g., to pick a somewhat unusual Irish name, Margaret Dempsey was 22 in 1911 and worked at the Limerick Magdalene … a Margaret Dempsey died on 16 February 1957. If this is the same woman she was 68 when she died and spent a minimum of 46 years working at this institution

  27.  

    @ Culchiewoman .I ferociously resisted getting married at all, I was pregnant fairly young and treated with the usual ” shock and awe ” The Laundries would have been very operational then, However I was lucky I had such an amazing childhood with access to all manner of literature and ideas via my Father, They would have had 2 chances of having me ” placed anywhere ” They had trouble enough keeping me at school,They became bored at school with my ” running away ” antics !
    My Mother and I had a very strained relationship, My Father had died when I became pregnant 1st time, Now I feel very deep sympathy for my Mother, who is long since dead, Her life was one of sustained sadness she had amazing qualities but never took the opportunity to live beyond her own families criteria.
    I am long divorced now and my foray into marriage was eventually arrived at through a process of getting tired of all the hassel, But no way ever was i going to have a religious cermony, My poor Mother at the time had the naive belief that if i had a ” civil cermony ” i could easily get a divorce ! so innocent, It cost £1 and 10 shillings, Really showing my age ! It was hilarious.

  28.  

    As always, we’re happy to facilitate an exchange of email addresses if people require it.

  29.  

    What would any of the posters on this thread have done if they had lived near one of the laundries? And especially if they had realized that the inmates there were slave labourers who were not free to leave the institutions on attaining the age of 21, the then age of majority? The nuns had absolute unquestioned control and ruled like control freaks until the end.

    I know it is a kind of parlour game to imagine that people with the education and enlightenment that we have today as a result of the education and information explosion might have intervened to halt such institutional abuse and oppression. To put it into a more contemporary context, consider two dark social problem areas in contemporary Irish society: a) the murderous drug gang warfare including open assassinations affecting Dublin and Limerick lower income areas in particular; and b) the harrowing cases of ‘children in care’ wandering abroad and becoming victims of drugs, sexual predation by males and numerous other kinds of debilitation. What is our generation of enlightened citizens doing, as individuals and in groups, to halt the drug murders and to bring the resources of the HSE and government to solving the problems of children at risk and in state care?

    Will researchers sixty years from now dig through the archives and say about our generation: if they knew from the daily headlines that these horrors were going on why didn’t they get off their butts and do something?

  30.  

    WHERE ARE THIER CHILDREN GRAVES ?

  31.  

    Benno. You have made some very strong points, It may not appear obvious, indeed it does’nt but I know many people who are very dedicated and giving of their time, wisdom and expertise in several areas to improve many facets of life.
    People are’nt taking to the streets to voice their disgust and concern but be assured this Country has many good people chipping away to put in place positive changes.
    The change will be slow and very much an uphill struggle fraught with defeats and small steps of gain, maybe it will be our grandchildren who will benefit.
    Maybe you do so already but if not then choose a cause you want to focus on and fight for and move toward positive change.

  32.  

    THE CHURCHES & CHARITIES FILES ARE CLASSIFIED OF THE ARCHIVES ACCESS RESTRICTIONS FOR 100 YEARS FROM CLOSURE … BRITISH LAWS.

  33.  

    Norma in #31, I have no dispute with what you say. There are indeed “many people who are dedicated and giving of their time” to work for a better quality of life and social justice in Ireland. And the obverse is too true, viz. that the majority of citizens gawk at the television, open another can of beer and go with the flow.

    If contributors to blogs and so on pause and try to put themselves into the minds (worldview or Weltanschauung, the German word) of our grandparents, grand uncles and aunts of the early twentieth century they would realize that then – on the crest of a national awakening spurred on by the Gaelic League, the GAA, the co-op movement, the land reforms completed by the Wyndham Act of 1903, the literary and drama surge, and the political developments between the 1912 home rule crisis and the commencement of Saorstat Eireann early in 1922 – there was a critical mass of idealist energy released among the common people. Some joined religious orders in the belief that they could serve the needs of the disadvantaged. Others became national school teachers and learned Irish during their summer holidays in an effort to revive the spoken language. Yet many others until the 1970s joined missionary societies and went to three continents to teach, preach and tend the medical needs of thousands.

    That the idealism of many was perverted by unquestioned hierarchical structures ruled by powerminded control freaks has become painfully obvious. It doesn’t negate the grassroots social idealism of our ancestors; it shows that control freakery prevented the emergence of a participatory civic culture. Civil servants, bishops and religious superiors, government ministers and other authority figures in an impoverished agriculture-based society were standoffish, inscrutable and unbending in the certainties of their Authority. An example of this was how the Sligo-born Father Flanagan of the famed humane Boys Town in Nebraska was feted when he toured Ireland in the late 1940s (or early 1950s?) but was rebuffed privately by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid and publicly by a few politicians when he complained about the widespread and frequent use of the cane and the strap in schools and institutions run by religious orders.

    While granting Norma’s point about many individuals today working for positive changes, I still wonder what history researchers in 60 years time will think about our current lackluster attempts to deal with drug wars and the mismanagement of problem children in state care.

  34.  

    Am I mistaken, but a cursory glance at those photos seem to indicate that the death rate among the inmates seemed to have increased as the twentieth century progressed? Or were there other factors involved? Has any research been done regarding this?

  35.  

    I doubt if any research has been done. As far as I know, the nuns are not releasing full details of the people they killed. We don’t even know for sure that the list of victims in this grave is complete.

  36.  

    god help us.because he didnt help those poor kids

  37.  

    Let’s not look back too far to see how intimidated people were by the church. Remember the parish priest was often “the reference” for all manner of social advancement – civil service, jobs, etc. He could berate from the altar. He could, ironically, make life hell.
    I went to secondary school in the 80s. To question the priests/nuns even then was perilous. We had a healthy disrespect for the priests because, while the majority of our families had an emigrant father, they had a housekeeper, a huge house, and a “that year” car. Our family was encouraged to badger and bait them in religion class. They did not like us and we didn’t care. Was it because we knew we were most likely leaving the country? I don’t know.
    I think we should try to think of what current situation is similar to this. What do we turn a blind eye to? Battering of spouses? Child neglect? Are those too obvious? What is so obvious and yet we can’t see the inhumanity?

  38.  

    Fair play to you bock for reminding people of the “holocausts” that occured in Ireland. The fact that the remaining survivors of these Magdalene hell holes were refused “redress” gives a lie to the apology given by Bertie Ahern and the Fianna Fail government in 1999. The apology of a “plank” as Mannix Flynn said. The final insult will be the erection of a monument to survivors with Ahern’s deceitfull and insincere words written on it.

  39.  

    I found out this morning that a gt.aunt spent some time in the convent in Wexford about 1910. Iwas trying to find the convent on the 1911 census and found this site. I was born in Wexford startof the WW2. On one of the headstones I spotted a gir who died the day I was born, 15th Feb 1940. Her name was Blenda Pollen, no age given and I felt guily, that as I was born into a loving family, Blenda died in such awful surroundings. I am not a practicing Catholic but each night I still say eternal rest for those I have lost. Tonight I have another name to add.

  40.  

    my faith in the catholic church has been gone for a long time. this stuff is bordering on auschwitz evil.. as in work these poor enslaved women to death. i think we need to go into mass and Stand up and confront them on the pulpit.

  41.  

    Lets face it Norma , Arnt most of our beloved little darlings today “Little Bastards” I mean that in the dearest way! Happy that your daughter inherited her mams sense of humour ,and adventure!

  42.  

    i am trying to trace a kathy kelly who spent many years in magdelene laundry limerick

  43.  

    You all do realize that the first original Magdalene Laundry was opened by a Protestant named Lady Arabella Fitzmaurice Denny in 1792. She created these original house of horrors!!!

  44.  

    Very Very saddening.The crimes, of The Catholic Church, should be shouted, from the rooftops, not hidden under the carpets.People forget, only too easily/

  45.  

    Rhonda — For the record, Arabella Denny did not start a Magdalene laundry. It was a refuge.

    The concept of imprisonment, punishment and repentance was not introduced until many years later, and this was done largely by Catholic nuns..

  46.  

    Just thank you, Bock. Well done. I read every name.

  47.  

    My dads mother gave birth to him in there in 1934, she had previously gave birth to daughter so how did she get pregnant in there? Id love as much help as possible with tracing and I have very little to go on. My email karz74@yahoo.co.uk he was born in 1934.

  48.  

    Where did that happen?

  49.  

    Hard to believe, that I spent my formative years in Limerick and I was blissfully unaware of the concentration camp under my nose.
    My heart goes out to all those women and girls who were used and abused by the catholic nazis.
    Equally hard to believe, is the amount of people that, still to this day, flock to the churches every Sunday to listen to the usual tripe. It appears as though catholic nazism is still alive and well in Ireland!

  50.  

    Bock Well I have read your letter and have cried my eyes out My Mother was in the Limerick laundry. I have been trying for years to get information about her. It took 8 years to get a birth cert.I had been told for about 15 years that there was no such person. Now I am hoping that someone out there may have a little information. My Mother was born 1st January 1910 ? 11
    I think that she would have been in the workhouse about 1928 or later. I was also born a bastard and by golly the nuns in Cobh never let me forget. I was the dirty one. I also spent 13 years in that hell hole. I hope someone can give me some information or direct me to someone who can help. Thank you for your time

    Eiblis

  51.  

    I am not excusing this in any way but… My very own nana grew up in one of these (just beacause her mammy died, and her daddy didnt cope) and she says most if not all of the nuns who ran the places had grown up in there themselves. so I dont hope that they died a horrible death, I hope they found the true meaning of God and forgave them selves and repented :( AMEN

  52.  

    Nobody here has wished them a horrible death, unless I’ve missed something.

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