The last of the Magdalenes: 'The nuns took my childhood'

Now just 40, ‘Jenny’ was one of the last generation to live in Ireland’s Magdalene laundries

A former resident outside the laundry at Sean McDermott Street, where there are  posies and a bouquet left at the door in memory of women who spent their lives inside. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

A former resident outside the laundry at Sean McDermott Street, where there are posies and a bouquet left at the door in memory of women who spent their lives inside. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

“It was Friday. I knew I was going. I had chickened out a few times.” For weeks Jenny had watched and noted, with a stubby pencil she found, the times the breadman called at the front door of the Magdalene laundry for his money.

She used apples and oranges to bribe others so she could be within hearing when the bell rang. “It was now. Mother Pi [the senior nun] was at the door. She was ready to shut it. I shoved the door with my hand, and I kind of pushed her – she didn’t go flying or anything. And I was out the door.

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