Fintan O’Toole: How to honour our unshamed Magdalenes

The last Magdalene laundry, which shut only in 1996, should become a memorial centre

President Higgins has hosted a special reception for women who worked in the Magdalene Laundries. Hundreds of Magdalene women are taking part in an historic two-day event in Dublin by the Dublin Honours Magdalenes group. Video: Bryan O'Brien

In September 1966, one GC Duggan of Killiney wrote a letter to The Irish Times reminiscing about the old shops in the well-to-do Dublin suburb of Donnybrook: “Field, the butcher, was there too, and in a side-street, Darcy the dairyman. A post office at the Donnybrook fair end, the Magdalen (sic) Asylum, and Cornelius Kennedy’s public house round off my memories.”

The butcher, the dairyman, the post office, the pub – oh, and the huge institution in which women were incarcerated, shamed and forced to do menial and unpaid labour.

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