The Good Shepherd Magdalen Laundry – Cork

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The Good Shepherd Magdalen Laundry – Cork

The Good Shepherd Convent, Magdalen Asylum,Sunday’s Well, Cork opened on the 29th July 1872. It remained the site of orphanage, Magdalen laundry until the late 1970s. The buildings have been derelict ever since a serious fire in 2003. The laundry was one of buildings that were destroyed.

The existence of the Magdalen asylums was little thought of until, in 1993, when an order of nuns in Dublin sold part of their convent to a real estate developer. The shocking discovery of 155 inmates buried in unmarked graves was made, all were exhumed and with the exception of one body were cremated and re-interred in communal grave.

This triggered a public scandal and became local and national news in 1999.

Mary Norris, Josephine McCarthy and Mary-Jo McDonagh, all asylum inmates, gave accounts of their treatment. The 1998 Channel 4 documentary Sex in a Cold Climate interviewed former inmates of Magdalen Asylums who testified to continued sexual, psychological and physical abuse while being isolated from the outside world for an indefinite amount of time.

The conditions in the Good Shepherd Convent, Magdalen Laundry Asylum, and treatment of the inmates was dramatized in the acclaimed film The Magdalene Sisters (2002), written and directed by Peter Mullan.

Many of these images featured in the book

Origins of the Magdalene Laundries: An Analytical History