The Oral History Recordings
Click on a video link to hear the oral histories of the survivors of the Magdalene Laundries in the South-East.
Elizabeth was born in the county home in Killarney in 1949. At two years old she was sent to the industrial school in Tralee where she was supposed to remain until she was 16. At 14 years old she was sent to the Peacock Lane Magdalene Laundry in Cork. Over the next 5 years Elizabeth was transferred to Sunday's Well Laundry in Cork and, finally, St. Mary's Magdalene Laundry in Waterford.
Maureen Sullivan was born in 1952 and was 12 years old when she was brought to the Magdalene Laundry at New Ross Co. Wexford in 1964. Over the next four years Maureen was transferred to the Magdalene Laundry in Athy and, finally, to a school for the blind in Dublin, which was attached to a small laundry.
Peggy spent 4 years (approximately 1953-1957) at the House of Mercy Domestic Training School, Summerhill, Wexford where a Laundry operated in the Training Centre. Peggy estimates that she was 12 and a half when she was sent to the laundry.
Marina was born in 1935. When she was 3 she was sent to the county home for a few years when her mother died. She lived with her grandmother until she was 16, followed by her aunt, who brought to the Magdalene Laundry in Wexford for 3 years until she was 19. Marina's story has also been featured in Whispering Hope, published by Orion Books in 2015.
Martha spent years at the Industrial School in Waterford. At the age of 17, another teenage girl told nuns that Martha had been talking to her boyfriend. This accusation led her to being relocated to the Magdalene Laundry in Limerick.
Kathleen was admitted to Airmount maternity hospital in Waterford to have her second child in 1966. Some days later, she was told that her baby was unwell and had been sent to Dublin "for a small procedure". It took Kathleen 34 years to find out that her son was sent to Temple Street Hospital and died due to heart complications (according to his death certificate). Kathleen has repeatedly requested Patrick's remains, and was never formally informed by Temple Street of his death at the time. Patrick is interred at Glasnevin Cemetery and was buried in the Old Holy Angels plot. Kathleen continues to fight for her son's remains.
Diana is an American survivor of a Magdalene Laundry in Buffalo, New York, which was operated by the Good Shepherd Sisters. Diana had a very difficult childhood and passed through multiple foster care placements, followed by placement in a Magdalene Laundry in Buffalo at 14. Within a year of leaving the Laundry in Buffalo, she found herself at the gates of another Good Shepherd Laundry in Albany, New York, where she stayed until she was seventeen.
*The video recording is dark/shadowed as per Diana's request.