From this room, bags and baskets of pressed laundry would have been issued back into the city and surrounding area, to those businesses paying the Sisters of Charity for laundry services.
The Magdalene Women actually doing the laundry work remained by and large unpaid.
“…and people, they’d say to me, ‘oh Jaysus Martina I never knew you were in it, and to think we all left our laundry…our laundry from Seán MacDermott Street,’ all around the area…Ballybough, Sheriff Street, Railway Street, the F…off the Four Lamps, all there…around there. Everyone left their laundry in there and never knew that there was women being exploited and beaten and abused like us. They never knew that, and they only used to say it afterwards, ‘Jesus if they ever kn…if we’d have known, we’d have never done it’.”
O’Donnell, K., S. Pembroke and C. McGettrick. (2013) “Oral History of Martina Keogh”. Magdalene Institutions: Recording an Oral and Archival History.
Government of Ireland Collaborative Research Project, Irish Research Council, p.41.
This part of the laundry operation was built as part of the 1948 extension, and is recorded on the 1954 survey of the site [above] by W.H. Byrne & Son Architects.
Prior to this date, it is likely that this function occurred within what we have recorded as the Sewing Room, given that the 1954 survey notes this as the ‘Dispatch & Sewing Room’ it is likely that dispatch operations were taking place here prior to the new extension being constructed.
[Interviewer] “And what kind of laundry was done there?”
“I’ll tell you, there was…there was All Hallows, the hotels, guesthouse, B&Bs, convents, school…boarding schools, shops, restaurants, hotel…you know, all the hotels…restaurants, people…the public, as well, and all came up from the country as well…some of the…some of the stuff came up, and prison…and everything…some of the time you’d get the sheets from the prison, there could be a breakdown you’d have to…there could be an extra load in, but you still had to fit that…all that in with your own.”