This extension began its life as a new refectory and recreation room for the Magdalene Women, built over the site of an earlier fountain. It was eventually transformed into residential quarters prior to the site’s closure in 1996.
This is also visible in the 1930s film of the laundry made by Father Jack Delaney held by the Irish Film Archive. Watch the video [here]
The relevant section begins at around 2mins 15secs.
According to Jacinta Prunty, this extension dates to 1955, stating that by this year:
”A beautiful new refectory has been built – also three extra bathrooms. The recreation room has been painted and looks very homelike with its new window curtains. The extension to the refectory covered much of the ‘penitents yard’ [the location of the former fountain], it also brought new standards in catering with the purchase of a ‘hot plate cupboard’…in May 1955.’
Jacinta Prunty, The Monasteries, Magdalene Asylums and Reformatory Schools of Our Lady of Charity in Ireland 1853-1973, Dublin: Columba Press (2017) p. 505
However, since this building appears on the W.H. Byrne & Son Architects survey of September 1954 [below], it is likely that it predates this somewhat.
This building may also have been the location of the classroom for cookery classes for teenage girls, which is said to be built ‘adjoining the refectory‘.
Prunty (2017): 424, 531
At some point following its construction, this building was converted into residents accommodation, as can be seen in the survey carried out in 2001 by Dublin City Corporation [below – N.B. this plan is rotated 180° from the 1954 survey above].
Images of this building from the early 2000s [below] show that wheelchair access ramps have been installed leading to its doorways, perhaps suggesting that this building was used to house elderly women.
This building was completely demolished following the 2006 fire.
“Always say, them auld feckers…on your knees, you were always on your knees scrubbing and cleaning. You know, if you weren’t on your knees you were standing. Like, you never sat down……you know. No one, even the old women, God love them now. See, we…we used to do the stuff the old women weren’t able to do like, we’d have to scrub the walls, and scrub the floors, scrub the stairs. The older women weren’t able to do that, so they’d use the younger ones for that, younger…us for that, and we’d be on our hands and knees p…scrubbing. Then another would come behind drying and another would coming along polishing it…
…and it was always everything was on your hands and knees. So then we were…if you weren’t on your hands and knees, you were standing all day. And I don’t think they ever believed in chairs to sit down. You never sat down, only at your dinner or your tea or your breakfast. That was all you ever sat down. The rest…you were on your hands and knees or on your hand…mostly on your feet in the laundries.”
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, pp.100- 101.
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