We hope that this collation of digital material will provide educational supports ranging from local schools to professional researchers interested in Irish memory and history, and will form a crucial part of any further academic work to be undertaken on this subject. Historical, archival research, combined with professional analysis, is necessary to aid in providing a more representative understanding of the social, cultural and political history and the legacy for modern Ireland and our cultural heritage.
Gathering and analysing these oral histories are essential to documenting our cultural heritage. This project will present the stories of the women held in these institutions, but will also locate these stories within a larger social and historical narrative informed by archival research. The proposed project has the potential to make a significant contribution to understandings of Irish history, and to an international understanding of the Magdalene institutions and Industrial Schools specifically. While some historians have been able to access records about the Magdalene Asylums of the 19th century, it is more difficult to assess the role and functions of these institutions in the 20th century, given that many of the institutions have only recently closed; and records have thus to date been largely inaccessible. Hence, documenting the history of the institutions during this time period will contribute to a public understanding of the cultural, political and economic significance to our Irish heritage.