Survivors bleak institutional past discoveries

Avenues to the Institutions: Discovery stories. [Pt. 2]

Posted on July 23, 2013

I was just one of thousands of Reformatory and Industrial ‘School‘ survivors’ who had made bleak institutional past discoveries via the Freedom of Information Act 1997 (FOI). The information had been requested by the Commission to Inquire into Institutional Child Abuse (CICA) Investigative and Private committees set up in 2002, and the subsequent Redress Board (RIRB) from those appearing before same.

Survivors were fortunate in one sense because solicitors in the main had expert staff. The latter had been prepared well in advance for what lay ahead of them, and determined to set a precedence in handling susceptible survivors in a highly professional manner. They were extraordinarily empathetic in their dealings, which was of the utmost importance to many thousands of persuadable past institutional beings. The staff had been chary and vigilant of who lay opposite them, as they steadily and methodically guided survivors at their own emotional pace through the jolting details held in their records. Close relatives and counsellors had been allowed to sit in on appointments.

I did not have anyone with me. I felt fairly secure in my dealings with the solicitor, and whenever it got too much I simply retreated and didn’t turn up for further appointments until such time that I felt strong and capable. Many survivors had built up a rapport over a long period with their solicitors. So there was an unspoken understanding all round that whenever survivors felt unable to commit to appointments due to severe stress, it was taken as an acceptable given.

Appointments normally lasted 55 minutes, or a counsellor’s hour. Nonetheless – that was not to say that I had been resilient when the reality of the file details had completely sunk in, in the aftermath of stepping out of the office and landing onto the lonely street. It hit me then that I had been thoroughly alone, and left with no choice but to confront the raw reality of the past that had been laid out before me. I read the Regina Coeli mother and baby home records (pre-Goldenbridge era, where I had spent my babyhood) and was involved in a serious accident, and that too was excruciatingly unbearable to handle. I dreaded going back to the solicitor to have that part of my files rehashed over and over again. I just could not go there, and became worn out trying to psychologically shelve the new-found knowledge. Every time I had been called in to the sollcitors’ office it irked me considerably whenever the matter was mentioned, that I found it sometimes easier to ignore solicitor appointments. The Regina Coeli part of my life was the most painful of all to get my head around. At least the Goldenbridge part was in the public domain and involved others, whereas in contrast the Regina Coeli episode was only applicable to me. It was personal and scary and very isolating. I could understand why my mother could not talk to me about it. It spaced me out, but still and all I just had to plod on irrespective of everything. I just had to hope that everything would get better. I kept thinking of all those who grew up with me in Goldenbridge who were in similar and even far worse situations. The intensity of the words spoken in the office always reverberated in my mind after the appointments. It was exacerbating to say the least having to try to continually remain calm and collected, as I wended my way along the quays of Dublin. I always felt extremely weighed down and isolated. How long more was I going to have to listen to sad stories about my past. For instance, I learned from my records that I had been admitted to Vergemount, Clonskeagh, fever hospital with pertussis, and was on a dying list. The hospital’s official title was ‘House of Recovery and Fever Hospital’. I was all but five years old. I was incensed at discovering that Sr. X had been my only guardian. It freaked me out no end to find that the nun who had been to the forefront of the Goldenbridge institutional child abuse controversy had also had her signature written large on my documents. It reminded me in a minor way of the obituary mass-cards belonging to my mother which had borne the signature of Father Brendan Smyth, the notorious Irish paedophile who brought the Irish government to its knees in the early nineties. I was deeply pained because my mother was not to be had whilst I lay dying in a strange Dublin hospital. It was the worst pain to have to contend with indeed. I cried non-stop for a very long time after reading that part of my files. I realised that I had no support system to turn to at that time of great need. I had exhausted all counselling avenues to turn to, as had a lot of survivors who felt that cottage industries had sprung up out of their pain. They were rebellious. I was also very distrustful and disillusioned by counsellors, as they were indicative of authority figures. Survivors mostly detest those in authority, because of past negative dealings. Bearing the burden of the pitiful past had been the story of my life. It made me feel very sad. But the truth had to be told. I knew that I could live far better with it than with the unknown, the latter of which I wouldn’t wish on my own worst enemy. I knew what it had been like to have had no identity for nearly 30 years. So, the truth, the whole truth. and nothing but the truth had to be told. It was imperative for my mental and emotional well-being in the finality.

The gruelling stories about how survivors came to be in the Reformatories and Industrial ‘Schools’ were spoon-fed them in dribs and drabs over a long period, so as not to overwhelm them too much. However, it was still excruciating for survivors. Some of who had to endure listening intently to horrendous details in their files, whilst at the same time desperately trying to remain calm and focussed.

From having listened to many survivors recounting their stories at the time in question, I know that many of them simply could not handle the stress associated with the new findings, and absolutely freaked out in their respective solicitors’ offices. Some survivors just could not stomach the contents discovered therein, and consequently reacted very badly by storming out of their solicitors’ offices. Some even slammed the doors so hard behind them; vowing never to revisit the solicitors’ offices which had revealed such terrifying secret stuff pertaining to their past lives.

Some survivors found themselves banging on the tables with their fists and yelling at the solicitors, or even maybe bursting into tears. Some of them became numb and silent because they found the file contents too unfathomable to comprehend. Others became stupefied and giggled out of sheer shock at the astounding new revelations. Some survivors simply switched off, or spaced out never allowing anything to sink in because it was all too unbearable. I know that one particular solicitor who had specifically dealt with male survivor clients had a gigantic table that separated them for safety. The wide berth between them was to preserve sanity all round. The RIRB office adopted the same procedure. There was also a case of a male survivor who had wanted to turn the table over in a solicitor’s office, because he was so vexed and frustrated at listening to such devastating news recorded in his files. Some of them simply wanted to get at documents and tear them to shreds.

The aggression was fiercely palpable. The religious had denied them rights to family details as children, and the consequences of that despicable wrongdoing was played out a lifetime later in solicitors’ offices throughout Ireland, and indeed in countries as far afield as AustraliaU.S.A., New Zealand and Continental Europe, where survivors had fled or emigrated to out of sheer shame and humiliation in the immediate aftermath of their ultimate disposal from their respective Reformatories and Industrial ‘Schools’.

Some survivors became suicidal. There was an incident of a very disturbed survivor who jumped into the River Liffey and drowned after RIRB dealings with a solicitor. I know that many survivors had felt that they too had wanted to do similar after hearing incomprehensible documented family details.

Can you just imagine that for the first time in their whole lives many survivors were confronted with traumatic historical data regarding family backgrounds. They learned things of every conceivable kind about themselves and their families that was hidden from them by the religious. It was a very distressful time. The staff went on sick-leave after only short periods of dealing with survivors, as invariably they suffered vicarious traumatisation. There was a very tearful solicitor who had to leave the job, as it all became overwhelmingly stressful. She was young and did not have the expertise required to handle the aggressiveness of survivors.

Stories that emerged from the FOI records could have involved parental suicides; parents having had two or three more families in various countries. Stories of children who were reared together in the same institution, who had then amazingly discovered for the first time that they were sisters, despite having had the same surname. Notwithstanding, that this would have been unsurprising given that when they grew up together they would not have known anything about themselves. Children in Goldenbridge on the whole were not aware of their surnames. Children went by their prison numbers mostly; so hence being none the wiser about their familial connection. The religious never told the children anything about their family history. Survivors had to withstand all their young lives not knowing anything about themselves. Not to be recommended at all. I think those dealing in childcare today have been made cognisant of this factor by survivors of Industrial ‘Schools.’ The religious should not have deprived those in their care the right to know their identities. The untold damage wreaked havoc, to not only the survivors but also their families whom they later discovered in life. The religious have a lot to answer for deterring children from knowing their identities.

There was one particular incident of twins, who had been denied knowledge of their family by a nun at Goldenbridge because the latter did not want disgrace blighting the good image of the Mercy order. It transpired that the head-honcho was a friend of the two aunties belonging to the twins, as both aunties were also Sisters of Mercy. The head-honcho apparently denied the twins the right to know their mother because of shame attached to the fact that she was a sister of the aunties, and had the twins out-of-wedlock. Not only that, the nun also managed to split up the twins who were very close to each other. One twin was abruptly whisked out of Goldenbridge, and sent to Rathdrum at a very early age to work for the head-honcho when she was shifted there. It was only by accident that the twins discovered each other some years later in the town of Rathdrum. There was a holiday home there for Goldenbridge children who had no families. The second twin subsequently went to work for the nun at St. Kyran’s Industrial ‘School’ for Junior Boys, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow.

For fifty years that nun in charge flatly refused to tell the twins anything about themselves, despite their constant pleading and suffering. It was only revealed when threatened with legal action by a professional who had the interest of the twins at heart. This occurred at the outset of the commission to inquire into child institutional abuse. What a despicable act!

There were stories that entailed having had siblings that survivors never knew existed, because they had either been adopted or reared by their fathers who may have been in separate relationships and living in England.

There were stories of parents who had struggled relentlessly with the Irish authorities to get their children out of institutions, but were unsuccessful. Nevertheless, there is one very good example of a father who diligently fought the Irish system in a landmark case in order to secure the release of his daughter from an Industrial ‘School’. Doubtless, he won the high profile court case. His name was Desmond Doyle, there was a film made about his notorious struggle with the Department of Justice and the Department of Education. For more information about this…

See: Evelyn Doyle: Evelyn | Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin 

There were letters telling children they had been dearly loved by their parents. They were never handed over to the children by religious management of the institutions. There were stories of children, who had been left at convent doorsteps, which was devastating for survivors involved. Some survivors discovered that their mothers had been in mental hospitals, and had even died very young in them. One survivor couldn’t believe it when he discovered as an adult that between two separate families that his siblings amounted to 22 members in total. Large families were common with a lot of survivors.

The trauma of all the new-found discoveries commingled with the commission to inquire into child abuse (CICA) and the redress board (RIRB) caused so much heartache that it inevitably culminated in many unnecessary suicides and early deaths of survivors. Some of who were still in their early forties.

Many survivors such as myself had learned that they had lived with their mothers for the first few years of their lives and/or had been initially reared by relatives prior to placement in out-of-home care. A number of survivors, who had identified themselves as ‘orphans’, reported to the private arm of CICA that frequently their mothers had, for various reasons, been unable to support them. The majority of these survivors had known little or nothing about the circumstances of their admission to out-of-home care. This lack of information included not knowing where they had been born, who their mothers and their fathers were, whether they had siblings, why their parents were unable to care for them and who decided they would be admitted to the Industrial ‘School’ system.

There were also a lot of other applicable details in the reports such as hospital visitations, reports from visitation officers sent to host families where difficulties may have arisen, as was the case with me personally. There were medical and “school” reports, and even bogus inspection menus and Industrial ‘School’ inspection reports contained in the records.

I also learned from my files that as a mere nine year old, I’d been found wandering aimlessly in the heart of Dublin. Two nuns from Goldenbridge had been on business in the city centre and had spotted me off chance. I was instantly whisked off O’Connell St, and escorted back to Goldenbridge in a Black Maria. I never saw the Boyne host family ever again. I had been on licence from Goldenbridge, and had spent ten months of freedom with them at Boyne St. Westland Row, Dublin. From that day forward I was mostly to never see the outside world until my incarceration period was ended at 16. All connections with the Boyne family were severed thereafter. I never had a visit from them in Goldenbridge. It was very strange learning for the first time the circumstances surrounding that period of my childhood. I remember likening it to being a rag doll that had been thrown around from pillar to post. No explanation was given as to why I was torn away from the host family. Indeed, I asked the Boyne family when I made a return visit in the eighties, why they abandoned me as a child. I told them that it was grossly unfair of them to befriend me and then suddenly disappear into oblivion. They never divulged the reason.

The stories go on ad infinitum. I recall on innumerable occasions in the past in the Aislinn survivor centre comparing the reason behind incarcerations of survivors to 
Goldenbridge. Survivors knew very little, if anything at all about each others personal background. So there were a lot of nonplussed looks on the faces when they saw, for example, that they had been incarcerated with the consent of parents or guardians. It had never dawned on most of them prior to receipt of records that they may have had lives pre Goldenbridge, as their past lives mostly never came into the equation whilst growing up in Goldenbridge.

I know for certain that it stunned me immensely to find out from my mother that I had a life beforehand at the Regina Coeli mother and baby home for almost five years before entering Goldenbridge. I was glad to have been given that information by my mother in the 80s, rather than to have found out about it from my records in the late 90s.

The Industrial ‘Schools’ (IrishScoileanna Saothair) established in Ireland under the Industrial ‘Schools’ Act of 1868 to care for “neglected, orphaned and abandoned children” failed the children wretchedly. So too did the Reformatories. The premature words of Richard Robert Cherry, a future Chief Justice of Ireland, speaking in 1911 was of the opinion that:

It is impossible to exaggerate the good effect (of)…. this twin system of Reformatory and Industrial Schools. The latter have been particularly successful in Ireland; and the combination of voluntary effort and private management, with State regulation and partial support—a rather dangerous experiment—has been completely justified by the result.

Nonetheless, In light of the findings in the Ryan Report almost one hundred years later, his assessment of the ‘experiment’ was apparently premature. The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse was established in 2000 with functions including the investigation of abuse of children in institutions in the State. It was dependent on people giving evidence of which they did in large numbers. The conclusion of the report, issued in May, 2009, was that over a period going back at least to the 1940s, many children in Industrial Schools in the Republic, had been subjected to systematic and sustained physical, sexual and emotional abuse. It also found that the perpetrators of, this violence; had been protected by their religious superiors, primarily out of self-interest, in order to maintain the reputations of the institutions concerned.

Mannix Flynn sums up succinctly everything I would wish to say about the architecture of containment of thousands upon thousands of children in Irish reformatories and Industrial ‘Schools’ in Ireland. Children, who should have been cherished by the nation, and who, instead, were marched off to child prisons, thus scarring them permanently because their character formation was tampered with at an important growth point in their young lives.

Romantic Ireland is truly dead and gone‘ Mannix Flynn said with justifiable anger. In his review of Bruce Arnold’s new book, The Irish Gulag: How the State Betrayed its Innocent Children (The Irish Times, May 30th), Flynn added: “Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany will now have the company of the Irish Church State, a brutal regime that perpetrated acts of unimaginable horror on its most vulnerable children. It will take generations to heal and understand this trauma. The Irish people will suffer for a long time to come.

Industrial ‘Schools’ were the product of a religious but unspiritual society.

The avenues to the institutions were paved with indelible pain and hurt.


Magdalen Research Project

Researchers launch Magdalene Laundries oral history project |


A research project focussing on the events in Magdalene Laundries is being launched today.

Titled Magdalene Institutions: Recording an Oral and Archival History, the project was funded by the Irish Research Council and conducted at UCD Women’s Studies Centre.

Transcripts and archival material relating to the Laundries will be made available through UCD archives.

Around 5,000 pages of documents are contained in the research.

“The overall objective of this project is to contribute towards a better understanding of the system of Magdalene Institutions that existed in Ireland through the gathering of archival material and oral history accounts from survivors who worked and lived in the Magdalene Laundries, as well as relatives, members of the Religious Orders, key informants (such as paid hands and GPs), and anyone else who has a story to tell that relates to these institutions,” according to project coordinator Dr Katherine O’Donnell.

Over 1,100 women are thought to have suffered in the Laundries over the decades.

Dr O’Donnell said that the 35 survivors who took part in the project took great comfort in re-telling their stories.

“The two- or three-hour interview they did with us was worth more than the years they spent with their psychiatrist,” Dr O’Donnell said.

“The women that we interviewed felt ready and able to donate their experience to the public.

“They were particularly interested in the education aspect, that younger people would learn about this… and deal better with the legacy than the older generation.”

The project will be officially launched at a public symposium in Liberty Hall, Dublin today.

More about the Magdalene Oral History Project

Public Symposium: Magdalene Institutions

Public Symposium: Magdalene InstitutionsDate: Sat, 07 Sep 2013 12:29:00 IST

Public Symposium to present the outcomes of the Government of Ireland Collaborative Research Project
Hosted by SIPTU, National Women’s Council of Ireland & UCD Women’s Studies CentreSaturday September 28th 2013, 1.00pm – 6.00pm
Liberty Hall, Dublin 1

To register for a free ticket visit
The symposium will be followed by supper and entertainment 6-9pm.

Magdalene Institutions: Recording an Oral and Archival History is a Government of Ireland Collaborative Research Project funded by the Irish Research Council and conducted at UCD Women’s Studies Centre under the direction of Dr Katherine O’Donnell.  This symposium addresses key outcomes of the project as it comes to a close and is co-hosted by SIPTU Campaigns and Equality and the National Women’s Council of Ireland, who have supported the campaign to bring justice for the Magdalene women.

The overall objective of this project is to contribute towards a better understanding of the system of Magdalene Institutions that existed in Ireland through the gathering of archival material and oral history accounts from survivors who worked and lived in the Magdalene Laundries, as well as relatives, members of the Religious Orders, key informants (such as paid hands and GPs), and anyone else who has a story to tell that relates to these institutions. The project ends in September and the symposium will survey the 75+ interviews (averaging over two hours each), the transcripts and archival materials which are made available in redacted format through UCD Archives. The interviews and transcripts will also be available on-line via the Irish Qualitative Data Archive (IQDA).

The symposium will also launch educational videos and lesson plans designed to introduce British and Irish 16-year old students to the ethical issues raised in consideration of the Magdalene Laundry system. We have worked on this aspect of the project with the British charity TrueTube. We will also unveil a pilot version of a digital ‘virtual museum’ of the Magdalene Institutions and will close with a focus on current issues for the feminist, labour and anti-racist movements that bear a relation to the experience of the Magdalene institutions.

Please note: For those who wish to remain anonymous, media will be restricted to one part of the building and will only interview those who wish to do so.  Hence, survivors/others should feel safe to attend without being publicly identified.  A ‘quiet room’ will also be available with counsellors on hand for those who need them.

UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland. Tel : 353-1-7167777

Launch of Magdalene Laundries history project

Katherine O' Donnell speaking at Magdalene Laundries history project in Liberty HallLaunch of Magdalene Laundries history project. By Josephine Gallagher | September 29, 2013.

“Katherine O’ Donnell speaking at Magdalene Laundries history project in Liberty Hall-Twitter On 28 September a conference was held in Liberty Hall Dublin to discuss a newly launched research project regarding survivors of the Magdalene Laundries.

The Magdalene Institutions: Recording an Oral and Archival History project contains detailed interviews and testimonies from survivors of the Magdalene laundries. The Project includes interviews from 79 out of 91 survivors and with over 5,000 pages of research material. Funded by the Irish Research Council the project was carried out at UCD Women’s Studies Centre under leading investigator Dr. Katherine O’ Donnell.

The primary aim of the project is to allow for a better understanding of the Magdalene Laundries through the use of interviews, accounts, archival material from survivors, workers, witnesses, relatives, religious orders and anyone connected to the Laundries.

Audio interviews, transcripts and donated papers will all be made available through UCD archives. A catalogue of interviews is also available and the first selection of interviews will be released by the end of October and a second section by the end of December 2013.

The project also includes educational videos organised by the British charity Truetube and other lessons aimed at educating secondary school students on the history of the Laundries and how future generations can learn from this part of Irish history.

Many survivors have praised the project with one interviewee stating that they “felt empowered” by contributing.

“It has helped me to speak out rather than hide.  Giving my story to the project was a great start to the way I am today. This time last year I could not have done the campaign work I am doing now,” said Irene, one survivor of the Magdalene Laundries.

Here are just some of the comments made on Twitter straight from and about the launch of the research project, which lit up Twitter under the hashtag #magdaleneproject.”

The last magdalene laundry in Ireland closed in October 1996! Average age of survivor 68, they need justice NOW

Loss of identity upon entering laundries, possessions taken, hair cut, name changed & no communication with outside world.

Only 45 mins into & it’s clear that Justice Quirke uncovered data frm survivors that McAleese failed to do

Image: Twitter/@EthelBuckley

  Katherine O’Donnell ‏@Ka_ODonnell27 Sep

Getting ready for the #magdaleneproject symposium at Liberty Hall tomorrow. Expand


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Testing @TrueTube video for @magoralhistory symposium tomorrow #magdaleneproject View photo

Everyone should read the #magdaleneproject tweets. We must not forget what these women went through.Expand

Prof Jim Smith at the #magdaleneproject “McAleese report was state investigating itself”. That’s the stuff of future apologies. @EndaKennyTD Expand

The wonderful Liam O’Maonlai serenades survivors at #magdaleneproject supper View photo

Thanks so much to @SarahClarkin for all the @NWCI tweets today at #magdaleneproject symposium. Expand Expand … #magdaleneproject

I was at the #magdaleneproject yesterday, and it was the best, most insightful way to spend a Saturday. Congrats to all involved.

Thanks to all who tweeted from the #MagdaleneProject today, very moving to read, must have been incredibly moving to be there Expand

RTE News at One reviewing the #Magdaleneproject launched yesterday

An emotional day here in Liberty Hall for Magdalene survivors & their families #magdaleneproject… Expand

@OpheliaBenson Thanks for that interesting info. I did a search. See: RT “Census 1911: Donnybrook Magdalen laundry .”

If they weren’t Laundresses, they were seamstresses, and servants. Never religious nuns. Too lowly for such a holy title. God loves sinners? Expand Expand

@OpheliaBenson They’re two different tweets. View conversation

Nuns often changed a woman’s name and cut her hair off on first day of incarceration in laundries #magdaleneproject Expand

@OpheliaBenson There’s a Magdalen Laundry project on today at Liberty Hall. See:  I only found out about it at Twitter View conversation

@OpheliaBenson There’s a religious order not too far from me. I wonder if there was a Magdalen laundry there? Must check. #magdaleneproject  View conversation

Isn’t Maeve O’Rourke one of the exceptional people of her generation? #magdalens #Irishwomen Expand

When I was growing up in Ireland, the laundries were always referred to as ‘Magdalen’ Laundries. Not ‘Magdalene’ Laundries. Sounds so odd. Expand

I can’t for the life of me understand why there is an ‘e’ added on to ‘Magdalen’ Laundries. That ‘e’ must have emerged in aftermath of film? Expand

Three standing recommendations, UN and IHRC, would support Govt to compel orders to comply with investigation. Will they? #magdaleneproject Expand

Our alumna @maeveorourke‘s work is now documented by @magoralhistory #magdaleneproject

HT @CA_Meehan @UCDResearch Expand

Until there is an independent thorough statutory inquiry we will never know truth about the laundries #magdaleneproject Expand

McAleese Report inadequately considered financial circumstances of the orders who have refused to contribute to survivors #magdaleneproject Expand

@MarieTherese39 Marie, check out  the new website, they’re seeking more accounts to build a comprehensive record. View conversation

Prof James Smith hopes that oral history projects will ‘complicate’ govt attempts to minimise survivor testimony #magdaleneproject Expand

James Smith criticises State’s McAleese Report. Says women’s voices & survivor testimony were marginalised #magdaleneproject Expand

James Smith details how govt were willing to ignore archival evidence, only acted because of UNCAT #magdaleneproject Expand

Prof Jim Smith asks “to which religious or voluntary grps is the State ceding responsibility today”; well that wud be all of the religious? Expand

James Smith criticises State’s McAleese Report. Women’s voices & survivor testimony were marginalised #magdaleneproject Expand

James Smith hopes that oral history projects will ‘complicate’ government attempts to minimise survivor testimony #magdaleneproject Expand View conversation

The word ‘vocational’ (training) must be interrogated in the #magdaleneproject context as much as in the #seanref debate! Expand

@lacanlune There was a ‘Santa Maria’ hostel in Dublin that catered for mothers and children of ‘fallen’ women. They were under supervision. View conversation

Legion of Mary volunteers availed of as probation supervisors for released Magdalene women just as ISPCC ‘Cruelty men’ imprisoned children Expand

Prof Smith presenting appalling indictment of State’s historical treatment of girls in its care #magdaleneproject Expand

Prof Jim Smith #magdaleneproject demanding that @FineGaelToday & @labour get their fingers out & pay the paltry redress to surviving women Expand

There are a lot of women in the world who could take a leaf from the book of Magdalen Laundry women and learn about real oppression of women Expand

It’s great to see Magdalen Laundry women being recognised after a long battle in fighting for justice. They are a force to be reckoned. Expand

Mari Steed has thanked @NWCI & @corkfeminista for their support in the #magdaleneproject. Other women’s groups must join the fight Expand

At the launch of the Magdalen Oral History Archive

maggie_called_julia … #Magdalenes #JusticeforMagdalenes #VAW View conversation

Prof James Smith reminding us, as of today, no money has been paid; no pension has been paid; no health care has been paid #magdaleneproject

Survivors still have not received a penny, still dependent on the Other as much as they were in the Magdalen Laundries #magdaleneproject View conversation

According to Dr Katherine O’Donnell, about 1% of population was in institutions in the latter decades of 20th century #magdaleneproject

Mari Steed now speaking at #magdaleneproject abt her own & her mother’s experience in M & B Homes, Laundries & her trafficking to the Expand

Mari Steed challenging us to find new signifiers,#: ‘trafficking”, “kidnapping”, “orphan”, “fallen women”#magdaleneproject Expand  Expand

As a psychoanalyst, I am struck by this assembly of Women attempting to rehabilitate the perverted Name of the Father #magdaleneproject Expand

I never knew about the #magdaleneproject until I read about it in my Twitter TM. What a pity. I would have liked to have attended project. Expand

#magdaleneproject starting a discussion on the legal implications of State’s involvement in Laundries – I’ll take notes for @AlanShatterTD Expand

“The truth translates… They have taught me to speak from my heart…” Laura Hale #magdaleneproject Expand

At the Magdalene Archival & Oral History event in Liberty Hall. Catalogue really worth a look: #magdaleneproject Expand

Big cheer in Liberty Hall for call from the floor for religious orders to pay the Magdalene survivors their stolen wages #magdaleneproject Expand

Follow #magdaleneproject for updates from Magdalene Oral History seminar later today. @magoralhistory Sorry to be missing it Expand

“A lot if women died there. There were times when women would disappear. They were buried in mass graves with no markings” #magdaleneproject

Big thanks @NWCI @EthelBuckley & others for the #magdaleneproject tweets today. Heart breaking & important work Expand

#magdaleneproject work was hard labour for long hours with no pay, very little recreation, food was basic View photo

@Ka_ODonnell opens Public Symposium on #magdaleneproject now in Liberty Hall #solidarity View photo

“Survivors can teach us to speak from the heart and have courage, because truth translates and keeps you buoyant” #magdaleneproject Expand

“The truth is the truth. Whether good or bad, we can all learn from it” @cmcgettrick, inspirational as usual #magdaleneproject Expand

Files aren’t just files, they’re heritage. Many women died before their family members could meet them. @cmcgettrick #magdaleneproject Expand

@cmcgettrick telling us now about the Magdalene Names Project element of the Magdalene Archive #neverforget #magdaleneproject Expand

Archival history contains 800 pages of JFM testimonies, newspaper articles, Dáil debates, UNCAT decisions #magdaleneproject @cmcgettrick Expand

The very wonderful @cmcgettrick thanking Magdalene women, hurt so much, but trusting enough to create archival history #magdaleneproject Expand

Women in the Magdalene Laundries were given very little food, usually only bread & dripping, hunger commonplace #magdaleneproject Expand

Amazing, insightful programme so far, mixed emotions but shadowed by respect for Magdalene survivors & justice advocates #magdaleneproject

To the Lighthouse – by Virginia Woolf  Expand

#magdaleneproject showing how UK have ALREADY dev’ed lessons using @truetubes video to educate UK students on human rights abuses in Europe Expand

A must read for everyone: Link for that catalogue of interviews #magdaleneproject

@TrueTube education project on stigma, shame and stereotypes being previewed now. Powerful stuff. #magdaleneproject Expand Expand

at #magdaleneproject, looking at a @TrueTubes video showing what it wud be like if girls & women today were abducted as per inmates -silence Expand

At Liberty Hall, at launch of the #Magdalen Oral History Archive #JusticeforMagdalens

Update: 29/09/13

RTE News at One reviewing the #Magdaleneproject launched yesterday Expand

I was at the #magdaleneproject yesterday, and it was the best, most insightful way to spend a Saturday. Congrats to all involved. Expand

Thanks so much to @SarahClarkin for all the @NWCI tweets today at #magdaleneproject symposium. Expand

The wonderful Liam O’Maonlai serenades survivors at #magdaleneproject supper View photo

Until there is an independent thorough statutory inquiry we will never know truth about the laundries #magdaleneproject Expand

At the Magdalene Archival & Oral History event in Liberty Hall. Catalogue really worth a look: #magdaleneproject Expand

McAleese Report inadequately considered financial circumstances of the orders who have refused to contribute to survivors #magdaleneproject Expand

Prof Smith presenting appalling indictment of State’s historical treatment of girls in its care #magdaleneproject Expand

Prof Jim Smith at the #magdaleneproject “McAleese report was state investigating itself”. That’s the stuff of future apologies. @EndaKennyTD Expand

Survivors have still not received a penny, still dependent on each other as much as they were in the laundries #magdaleneproject Expand

Mari Steed has thanked @NWCI & @corkfeminista for their support in the #magdaleneproject. Other women’s groups must join the fight Expand

#magdaleneproject showing how UK have ALREADY dev’ed lessons using @truetubes video to educate UK students on human rights abuses in Europ Expand

A must read for everyone: Link for that catalogue of interviews #magdaleneproject Expand

Big thanks @NWCI @EthelBuckley & others for the #magdaleneproject tweets today. Heart breaking & important wor Expand

Amazing, insightful programme so far, mixed emotions but shadowed by respect for Magdalene survivors & justice advocates #magdaleneproject

Everyone should read the #magdaleneproject tweets. We must not forget what these women went through. Expand

RT @NWCI: Shame, stigma, lack of confidence, fear of being brought back, intimacy, scars, mangled hands, lack of education #magdaleneproject Expand

An emotional day here in Liberty Hall for Magdalene survivors & their families #magdaleneproject  Expand

Really interesting line up of speakers and discussions at the #magdaleneproject in Liberty Hall @SIPTUIreland @NWCI @Ka_ODonnell

Follow #magdaleneproject for updates from Magdalene Oral History seminar later today. @magoralhistory Sorry to be missing it Expand

Testing @TrueTube video for @magoralhistory symposium tomorrow #magdaleneproject View photo

#magdaleneproject View photo

Update: 29/09/13


State involvement and complicity- something that has been established repeatedly- Ryan, McAleese, JFM, UNCAT #magdaleneproject Expand

Mari Steed thanks @NWCI & @corkfeminista for their support in the #magdaleneproject. Women’s groups must fight together! Expand

James Smith hopes that oral history projects will ‘complicate’ government attempts to minimise survivor testimony #magdaleneproject Expand

How can McAleese Report be considered complete if HSE has not examined all of its files #magdaleneproject

McAleese Report inadequately considered financial circumstances of the orders who have refused to contribute to survivors #magdaleneproject Expand

JM Smith states obvious: until ind audit conducted, can’t be validated that laundries were operating on break-even basis #magdaleneproject Expand

Three standing recommendations, UN and IHRC, would support Govt to compel orders to comply with investigation. Will they? #magdaleneproject Expand

Maeve O Rourke: UN Rapporteur on Violence against Women should be invited to investigate report on Magdalene experience #magdaleneproject

Census 1911: Donnybrook Magdalen laundry

Residents of a house 6 in Floraville Road (Pembroke West, Dublin)

Show all information

Surname Forename Age Sex Relation to head Religion
Keating Ellen 41 Female Sr of Charity Roman Catholic
Mathew Gertrude 43 Female Sr of Charity R Catholic
McDonnell Rebecca 69 Female Sr of Charity R Catholic
Healy Anna 65 Female Servant Maid Roman Catholic
Delany Margaret 52 Female Servant Maid Roman Catholic
Synnott Elizabeth 51 Female Sr of Charity Roman Catholic
Pennefather Edith 42 Female Servant Maid Roman Catholic
Kelly Mary 49 Female Servant Maid Roman Catholic
Molamby Elizabeth 32 Female Sr of Charity Roman Catholic
Dunne Kathleen 34 Female Sr of Charity Roman Catholic
Murphy Edith 27 Female Sr of Charity Roman Catholic
Collins Mary 63 Female Sr of Charity Roman Catholic
Alyward Mary 43 Female Sr of Charity Roman Catholic
McDonnell Mary 44 Female Sr of Charity Roman Catholic
O Neil Margaret 19 Female Sr of Charity Roman Catholic
Tierney Mary Alice 20 Female
Tierney Catherine 17 Female
Grace Mary 17 Female
O’Hanlan Adelaide 22 Female
Anderson Mary Ann 16 Female
Spencer Frances 82 Female Inmate Catholic
Hoblins Honora 71 Female Inmate Catholic
Blake Anne 64 Female Inmate Catholic
McGrane Mary 57 Female Inmate Catholic
Geary Johanna 61 Female Inmate Catholic
Lewis Anne 56 Female Inmate Catholic
Connolly Emily 54 Female Inmate Catholic
Casey Kate 76 Female Inmate Catholic
Walsh Kate 50 Female Inmate Catholic
Glastrick Kate 53 Female Inmate Catholic
Neil Rebecca 50 Female Inmate Catholic
Lyons Mary 55 Female Inmate Catholic
Leary Mary 85 Female Inmate Catholic
Boyd Mary 58 Female Inmate Catholic
Swain Margaret 50 Female Inmate Catholic
Corr Honora 50 Female Inmate Catholic
Tierney Catherine 48 Female Inmate Catholic
Dillon Mary 40 Female Inmate Catholic
Mitchell Mary 50 Female Inmate Catholic
Moran Sarah 45 Female Inmate Catholic
Thompson Margaret 60 Female Inmate Catholic
Long Mary Anne 35 Female Inmate Catholic
McGuire Margaret 67 Female Inmate Catholic
McGarry Jane 59 Female Inmate Catholic
Keenan Bridget 42 Female Inmate Catholic
Upton Mary 52 Female Inmate Catholic
Ennis Elizabeth 39 Female Inmate Catholic
Allardyce Jane 43 Female Inmate Catholic
Bolger Anne 53 Female Inmate Catholic
Dwain Winifride 48 Female Inmate Catholic
Butler Sophia 32 Female Inmate Catholic
Conway Anne 56 Female Inmate Catholic
Fleming Mary 36 Female Inmate Catholic
Clare Mary 35 Female Inmate Catholic
Reilly Mary 34 Female Inmate Catholic
Kavanagh Elizabeth 35 Female Inmate Catholic
Murray Mary 50 Female Inmate Catholic
Smith Anne 39 Female Inmate Catholic
Daly Frances 53 Female Inmate Catholic
McCabe Margaret 27 Female Inmate Catholic
Mullins Mary 34 Female Inmate Catholic
Conway Catherine 42 Female Inmate Catholic
Grimes Margaret 29 Female Inmate Catholic
Loughman Christina 39 Female Inmate Catholic
McGuire Mary 60 Female Inmate Catholic
Dolan Elizabeth 31 Female Inmate Catholic
Smith Bella 25 Female Inmate Catholic
Flynn Julia 53 Female Inmate Catholic
Hopkins Annie 37 Female Inmate Catholic
Peyton Jane 20 Female Inmate Catholic
Verdon Catherine 38 Female Inmate Catholic
Gurr Mary 25 Female Inmate Catholic
Guilfoyle Kathleen 23 Female
Byrne Mary 48 Female Inmate Catholic
Cullinan Margaret 60 Female Inmate Catholic
Harding Mary 40 Female Inmate Catholic
Mahony Catherine 25 Female Inmate Catholic
Nolan Eva 20 Female Inmate Catholic
Holmes Eliza 18 Female Inmate Catholic
Burke Sarah 22 Female Inmate Catholic
Mooney Martha 48 Female Inmate Catholic
Newman Ellen 21 Female Inmate Catholic
Newman Catherine 19 Female Inmate Catholic
Brady Christina 20 Female Inmate Catholic
Marshall Johanna 50 Female Inmate Catholic
Kennell Margaret 20 Female Inmate Catholic
Brady Teresa 23 Female Inmate Catholic
Higgins Bridget 32 Female Inmate Catholic
Devey Anne 20 Female Inmate Catholic
Moore Martha 40 Female Inmate Catholic
Rockford Anastasia 18 Female Inmate Catholic
Whelan Anne 20 Female Inmate Catholic
Devine Florence 28 Female Inmate Catholic
Corcoran Mary 38 Female Inmate Catholic
Clery Mary 19 Female Inmate Catholic
McKenna Mary 29 Female Inmate Catholic
Legrave Elizabeth 21 Female Inmate Catholic
Fitzgerald Mary 17 Female Inmate Catholic
Sullivan Mary 30 Female Inmate Catholic
Kirwin Mary 23 Female Inmate Catholic
Cahill Mary 27 Female Inmate Catholic
Brennan Elizabeth 24 Female Inmate Catholic
Donoghue Esther 19 Female Inmate Catholic
Weldon Elizabeth 30 Female Inmate Catholic
Sheils Jane 50 Female Inmate Catholic
Whelan Nora 37 Female
Briscoe Eileen 31 Female
Farrell Eliza 89 Female
Fulham Teresa 64 Female
Foster Mary 58 Female
Fox Esther 65 Female
Kenny Kate 54 Female
Geraghty Mary Anne 54 Female
Foster Sarah 31 Female
Leneham Anne 37 Female
Holahan Bridget 32 Female
Farrell Anne 47 Female
Chandler Frances 24 Female
Moran Jane 20 Female
White Francis 17 Female
Greer Frances 30 Female
Fighe Teresa 41 Female

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View census images

Household Return (Form A)
Additional Pages: 234567891011,12131415161718

Other original census images available

Enumerator’s abstract (Form N)
Additional Pages: 2
House and Building Return (Form B1)
Additional Pages: 2
Out-Offices and Farm-Steadings Return (Form B2)
Additional Pages: 2

Legion of Mary celebrates 90th birthday

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 12:00
Legion of Mary celebrates 90th birthday
• Frank Duff, who opened the Morning Star, Regina Ceoli (pictured) and Santa Maria hostels, was fondly remembered at the Legion of Mary’s 90th anniversary.

FRANK Duff, a super Dub and a super Irishman, was fondly remembered earlier this month when the Legion of Mary celebrated its 90th birthday.

Frank, who devoted his life to loving his neighbour, gave hope and improved the quality of life for so many by opening the Morning Star, Regina Ceoli and Santa Maria hostels. He visited the old and the sick and fed and clothed the down and outs.

Frank also provided accommodation for unmarried mums and their children. In this, he was decades before his time.

Frank was an entrepreneur of God, using all his administrative skills, acquired from his time in the Civil Service, to launch his world movement that changed how the Catholic Church viewed itself before the Vatican Council.

The Legion of Mary started its life in Dublin in 1921 and those associated with it are very proud that it has spread to 170 countries.

The Legion is still growing in many parts of the world, and hopes to be a vehicle of renewal in Ireland and Europe once again.

Open days were held in conjunction with the 90th anniversary celebrations at the Legion’s headquarters in Brunswick Street, Dublin 7, and at the place where the first meeting was held in Myra House, Francis Street, Dublin 8.

The invitations were especially made to former members and associate members, many of whom have fond memories, growing up in the junior ranks of the Legion.