About the project

The Waterford Memories Project is an oral history project in digital humanities. The project has the primary aim of safely archiving narratives of the Waterford and new Ross Laundries and Industrial Schools to record our cultural heritage and provide a platform for further analysis of our history.  The research will thus present both a record of experience and a commentary on it, locating individual stories within larger contexts, not least that of the social history of the South-east in the 20th century.


At the primary focus of this project are the survivors; the women whose stories we aim to honour.  Given the relative cultural “invisibility” of many of the survivors of these institutions at the time of their incarceration (and often for decades afterwards) it appears particularly vital to remember, commemorate and learn from their experiences at a local, and national, and international level.  The proposed project is intended to further the aim of remembering a period in Irish history where society’s legal, constitutional and moral obligations were sometimes overlooked; and in the case of this cohort of women and children, largely ignored altogether.


This project has been funded by the Heritage Council under the Community based Heritage Grant Scheme 2015.

"This project is about more than research and educational pursuits; there is a genuine responsibility to recognise the trauma these women suffered in silence, and respond to their needs and desire to disseminate their stories according to their wishes.  As Principal Investigator for this project I am both honoured and humbled by these women and their bravery to publicly tell their stories.  This project is not about giving the Magdalene survivors a voice – it is about providing the platform for their voice to be heard, coupled with professional analysis." 

Dr. Jennifer O'Mahoney



Jennifer is a psychologist based at the Waterford Institute of Technology with a research focus on trauma and survivors of sexual assault.  Jennifer has completed counselling training with the Waterford Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, and is also a Member of the Committee of the EU Cost Action Group: Social psychological dynamics of historical representations in the enlarged European Union.

Image credit: Sophie Teasdale