A ‘Magdalene Asylum’ on what is now Sean MacDermott St has existed from at least 1833. It closed in 1996.
The Magdalene ‘Asylums’ or ‘Laundries’ were religiously-operated, and State supported institutions, intended to house so-called ‘Fallen Women’ – those guilty of no crime, but who Irish society sought to conceal and confine because they had broken social or religious norms, or were deemed to be ‘in the way’ in a highly patriarchal society.
After the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922, the Laundries became increasingly penal in nature, confining women indefinitely and forcing them to work difficult and dangerous jobs in industrial laundries for no pay.
Many women once confined behind its walls are still alive. Their stories are told on these pages, placed in the context of the site where they first occurred.