Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mary Magdalene's Asylum (early 1900s and Streetview)

I was doing my usual browsing through old photographs online when I found this one that caught my eye. It's of Saint Mary Magdalen's Asylum sometime in the early 1900s. This was situated on Brookvale Road in Donnybrook in Dublin and as far as I can ascertain operated into the 1990s as a Magadalene Laundry. It's estimated that between 10,000 and 30,000 women were incarcerated in these institutions for "crimes" such as prostitution, having children out of wedlock, being intellectually disabled, or having been a victim of abuse. Only in the past week has an official apology been made by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, on behalf of the state, to survivors of these vile institutions. Thankfully the laundries no longer operate due to changing societal mores and economics. Frances Finnegan, an academic whose Do Penance or Perish: Magdalen Asylums in Ireland remains the most extensive study yet done on the laundries has said that "Possibly the advent of the washing machine has been as instrumental in closing these laundries as have changing attitudes." Below is the same location on Google's Streetview in recent years.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting! I had not seen this photo before. It looks like a grim place...