Below is a list of places where you can find out more about Ireland’s 20th century institutional and gender-related abuses. We have drawn in particular from the List of Educational Resources compiled by Justice for Magdalenes Research. Please be aware that this is not an exhaustive list and we will continue to add to it as we gather information. We encourage you to do your own additional research.
Research and Advocacy Groups
- Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) aims to provide for the advancement of education of the general public by researching the Magdalene Laundries and similar institutions and by providing information and support to the women who spent time in the Magdalene Laundries and their families. The voluntary group is made up of Claire McGettrick, Mari Steed, Dr Maeve O’Rourke, Associate Professor Katherine O’Donnell and Associate Professor James M Smith. The JFMR website provides Guides for survivors and relatives, links to JFMR’s written submissions to human rights bodies, access to the Magdalene Oral History Project, information about the whereabouts of and ongoing efforts to locate the women who died behind convent walls (the Magdalene Names Project), and updates about many more research and advocacy projects.
- Justice for Magdalenes (JFM) was the predecessor organisation to Justice for Magdalenes Research. In August 2012, JFM made its principal submission, State Involvement in the Magdalene Laundries to the Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalen Laundries (IDC). The submission, authored by James Smith, Raymond Hill, Maeve O’Rourke, Claire McGettrick and others, consisted of a 145-page document which was supported by 795 pages of survivor testimony and 3,707 pages of archival evidence and legislative documentation. It outlined comprehensive evidence of State complicity in the abuses experienced by girls and women in Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries. The JFM archive is available here.
- Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) campaigns for equal rights for adopted people and all those subjected to abuse through the institutionalisation and forced separation of unmarried families during the 20th century in Ireland. ARA’s website contains information about how to access information, and invites members of the public to educate themselves and get involved in calling for equal rights to information for adopted people. ARA’s submissions to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in 2017 are available here.
- Clann: Ireland’s Unmarried Mothers and their Children: Gathering the Data is a collaboration between Adoption Rights Alliance, Justice for Magdalenes Research and Hogan Lovells International LLP. It is co-directed by Claire McGettrick and Dr Maeve O’Rourke. Its purpose between 2015 and 2018 was to gather evidence and advocate to the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters, and elsewhere, regarding the treatment of unmarried girls and women, and their children, who were forcibly separated during the 20th century. The website, containing explanatory short films and the final Clann Report is here.
- The Association of Mixed Race Irish is a campaign and support group that highlights an overt policy of racial discrimination in the historic care system in Ireland for mothers and babies/children. This organisation’s written submissions to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2019 are available here.
- Reclaiming Self was a group that submitted an NGO report to the UN Committee against Torture in 2017. Read the report here.
- Survivors of Symphysiotomy is a group that made submissions to the UN Committee against Torture in 2017 (available here), to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in 2017 (available here) and to the UN Human Rights Committee in 2014 (available here and here) and 2015 (available here).
- Recovery Experts by Experience and Ár Guth Ár Gcearta joined with Survivors of Symphysiotomy, Reclaiming Self, Justice for Magdalenes Research and Adoption Rights Alliance in oral submissions to the United Nations Committee Against Torture in 2017 and made written submissions, available here.
- Office of the Ombudsman, ‘Opportunity Lost: An investigation by the Ombudsman into the administration of the Magdalen Restorative Justice Scheme‘ (2017)
- Report of the Magdalene Commission (2013)
- Report of the Interdepartmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalen Laundries (2013). The McAleese Report is available to download as a single PDF from JFMR’s website.
- Irish Human Rights Commission, Follow-up Report on State Involvement with Magdalen Laundries (2013)
- Irish Human Rights Commission, ‘Assessment of the Human Rights Issues Arising in relation to the “Magdalen Laundries“‘ (2010)
- Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (2009)
Oral History Projects
- Katherine O’Donnell, Sinéad Pembroke and Claire McGettrick, ‘Magdalene Institutions: Recording an Oral and Archival History’
- Jennifer O’Mahoney, ‘The Waterford Memories Project: Oral History’
- Evelyn Glynn, ‘Breaking the Rule of Silence‘
Films / Documentaries
- Uchtú, produced by Sinead Ingoldsby, 2019
- Land Without God, directed by Gerard Mannix Flynn, Maedhbh McMahon and Lotta Petronella, 2019.
- The Magdalenes, produced by Nick Carew, 2013.
- Philomena, directed by Stephen Frears, 2013.
- The Forgotten Maggies, produced by Steven O’Riordan, 2009.
- The Magdalene Sisters, directed by Peter Mullan, 2003.
- Sinners, directed by Aisling Walsh, 2002.
- Witness: Sex in a Cold Climate, produced by Steve Humphries, 1998.
- Les Blanchisseuses de Magdalen, by Nicolas Glimois and Chrisophe Weber, produced by Arnaud Hanelin, France3/Sunset Preste, 1998. [Available as Convents of Shame from Marathon International Video].
- States of Fear, produced by Mary Raftery, 1999.
- Dear Daughter, produced and directed by Louis Lentin, 1996.
- Washing Away the Stain, directed by Sarah Barclay and Andrea Miller, BBC 2 Scotland, 1993.
- Stolen Lives, three part series by Louis Lentin, 1999.
- Magdalene Laundry Institute for Outcast Women, produced by Julian Vignoles, 1992.
- Close The Door – Magdalen Laundries, produced and presented by Padraic Dolan, 1990.
- “Irish women emerge from shadows of ‘National Shame'”, NPR interview with Mari Steed, February 2013.
- “The Home Babies“, produced by BBC Radio 4, 2018.
- “The Last of the Magdalene Laundries: Sean McDermott St, Dublin, Women Walking Alone, Restoring Treasures, Portrayals of Motherhood“, produced by BBC Radio 4, 2019.
- ‘Confronting the Nun Who Despised Me’ BBC Radio Outlook, interview with Elizabeth Coppin, 14 November 2018
News Video Segments
- “Ireland’s Hidden Bodies, Hidden Secrets”, Our World, BBC News Channel, produced by Sue Lloyd-Roberts, 5 October 2014.
- “Magdalene Laundries”, 60 Minutes, narrated by Steve Croft, produced by L. Franklin Devine, CBS News, 1999.
- “Magdalene Laundries: Our World”, produced by Sue Lloyd-Roberts, BBC News Channel, 27 September 2014.
- “Magdalene Laundry Apology”, Primetime, produced by Tanya Sillem, RTÉ, February 2013.
- “Private members’ bill to provide for a State apology to Magdalene women”, Tonight with Vincent Browne, TV3, February 2013.
- “Slave Labour: Magdalene Laundries disgraced Irish Catholic women”, by Sean Mallen, produced by Mia Sheldon, Global HD, Canada 2012.
- “Ireland’s Institutions”, produced by Tanya Sillem, RTÉ, June 2019.
- “The nightmares will always be there“, Thejournal.ie, June 2018
- ‘Magdalene Survivors – An Emotional Week‘, RTE News, June 2018
- ‘Questions and Answers: Michael O’Brien‘ RTE, July 2009
- ‘The Late Late Show: Interview with Rosemary Adaser’, RTE, March 2017
- Earner-Byrne, Lindsey, Mother and Child: Maternity and Child Welfare in Dublin, 1922-60. Manchester University Press, 2007.
- Finnegan, Frances. Do Penance or Perish. Oxford University Press, 2004.
- Luddy, Maria. Prostitution and Irish Society, 1889-1940. Cambridge University Press, 2007.
- Luddy, Maria, “Women and Philanthropy in Nineteenth Century Ireland“, Cambridge University Press, 1995.
- McCarthy, Rebecca Lea, “The Origins of the Magdalene Laundries: An Analytic History“, McFarland, 2010.
- Milotte, Mike, “Banished Babies“, New Island Books, 2012.
- Prunty, Jacinta. Dublin slums, 1800 – 1925: a study in urban geography. Irish Academic Press, 1998.
- Prunty, Jacinta. The Monasteries, Magdalen Asylums and Reformatory Schools of Our Lady of Charity in Ireland, 1853-1973. Columba Press, 2017.
- Raftery, Mary and O’Sullivan, Eoin, “Suffer the Little Children“, New Island Books, 1999.
- Smith, James M. Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries and the Nation’s Architecture of Containment, University of Notre Dame, 2007.
- Buckley, Sarah-Anne, “The Cruelty Man“, Manchester University Press, 2013.
- Bolger, Dermot, “A Second Life: A Renewed Novel“, New Island Books, 2010.
- Brogan, Patricia Burke, “Eclipsed“, Salmon Drama, 1994.
- Brogan, Patricia Burke, “Stained Glass at Samhain“, Salmon Drama, 2003.
- Conlon-McKenna, Marita, “The Magdalen“, Forge Books, 2002.
- Dyas, Grace, ‘We Don’t Know What’s Buried Here‘, TheatreClub, 2018.
- Dilworth, Rachel, “The Wild Rose Asylum: Poems of the Magdalen Laundries of Ireland,” Akron Series in Poetry, 2009.
- Lowe, Louise. Laundry. Anu Productions, 2011.
- Roberts, Connie, ‘Little Witness‘, Arlen House, 2015.
Life Writing / Memoir
- Costello, Nancy, Legg, Kathleen, Croghan, Diane, Slattery, Marie, Gambold, Marina with O’Riordan, Steven. Whispering Hope: The Heart-Breaking True Story of the Magdalene Women. Orion, 2015.
- Fagan, Terry. Monto: Madams, Murder and Black Coddle. Dublin North Inner City Folklore Project, 2000.
- Goulding, June, “The Light in the Window“, Poolbeg, 1998.
- Hogan, Caelainn. Republic of Shame, Penguin, 2019.
- Palmer, Caitríona, “An Affair with My Mother: A Story of Adoption, Secrecy and Love“, Penguin, 2015.
- Rodgers, J.P. For the Love of My Mother. Headline Publishing, 2005.
- Sixsmith, Martin. The Lost Child of Philomena Lee: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-year Search. Macmillan, 2009.
- Tyrell, Peter, “Founded on Fear“, Transworld Ireland, 2008.
- O’Malley, Katherine, “Childhood Interrupted: Growing Up in an Industrial School,” Virago, 2006.
- O’Reilly, Alison. My Name is Bridget. Gill Books, 2018.
- Arnold, Mavis and Laskey, Heather, “Children of the Poor Clares: The Collusion Between Church and State that Betrayed Thousands of Children in Ireland’s Industrial Schools“, Trafford Publishing, 2012.
- Touher, Patrick, “Fear of the Collar: Artane Industrial School“, O’Brien Press Ltd, 1991.
- Arnold, Bruce, “The Irish Gulag“, Gill Books, 2009.
Art / Visual Culture
- (A)Dressing Our Hidden Truths, Lowry, Alison, 2019.
- Mother and Baby Homes: Stories from the Inside, EPIC Museum, 2020.
- Secrets of the Magdalene Laundries, Fenster, Diane.
- State-Meant: Call me by my name, Flynn, Mannix, Far Cry Productions.
- Breaking the Rule of Silence, Limerick College of Art, Glynn, Evelyn, 2011.
- Procession, Mc Mahon, Maedhbh, 2011.
- The Magdalene Laundries, Parry, Cheryl, 2007.
- The Magdalene Laundries, Romero, Rachael, 2014.