4. The Limerick Laundry
The Sisters of the Good Shepherd began operating a Magdalen Laundry in Limerick in 1828. Under British rule and later Irish independence in 1921, the order maintained control. The Limerick Laundry was a complex of buildings that included a commercial laundry, an industrial school for girls, an orphanage, a church, and convent. Thousands of girls and women entered the facility over its 150 years of operation. And throughout that time, the Sisters had strict control over the inmates. Each inmate matriculated through each aspect of the laundry first working in the washing room, then the drying and pressing rooms, and finally the packaging room.
Survivors of the laundry proclaimed that they every aspect of their life was controlled by the nuns. Most inmates were sent to the laundry simply because their families lived in extreme poverty and their parents could not adequately care for them. An inmate who entered the Limerick laundry at 17 remained there until she died aged 76! The laundry closed in 1990. Researches have documented the location of 284 women that died at the laundry as inmates. Officials believe that many more died without ceremony or documentation. The complex now houses the Limerick School of Art and Design.