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


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