29th June 2017
This autumn, COPE Galway will commence the renovation of the Convent building on Forster Street which was associated with the Magdalene Laundry in Galway, for use as a centre for women and their children who experience domestic violence.
In advance of this, COPE Galway, with the support of John Tierney of Eachtra (community led heritage projects) is carrying out a project to remember, respect and record the lives of the women who lived and worked in the Magdalene Laundry and convent on Forster Street. They are inviting anyone with an interest in this ‘Remembering the Forster Street Magdalene Laundry Women’ project to come to a public information session in the Harbour Hotel on Thursday 6th July, 7.30 - 9.00pm. All are welcome to attend.
COPE Galway CEO, Jacquie Horan says, “This initiative is a way for us at COPE Galway to remember the women who lived and worked in the Magdalene convent and laundry since it was first opened on the Forster Street site in about 1870. As we prepare to renovate the Convent building on Forster Street for its new use as a centre helping women who experience domestic violence, we want to do so in a way that acknowledges its history and in particular remembers the women associated with it”.
The ’Remembering the Forster Street Magdalene Laundry Women’ project will run over 3 months and will focus on researching the biographical details of those women who lived and worked in the laundry from 1870 to 1984.
“The laundry buildings themselves were demolished in 1991 so we aim to gather any historic documents we can find about the laundry - photographs, letter heads, invoices – artefacts that people in the community may have”, said Jacquie Horan. “If any Galway families have such items and are willing to share them we’d ask them to attend the public information session and we will make arrangements to copy, scan or photograph the objects, documents or photographs. Also if people have relatives who lived and worked in the laundry we welcome any help we can get in trying to trace their individual life histories”.
Following the information session, John Tierney and the Eachtra Team (the Historic Graves project is one of their best known projects) will record the headstones of the Magdalene women in Forster Street, pursue any available historical and genealogical sources available and try to gather the facts of these women’s lives. “We are aware some of the women are buried and commemorated in Bohermore cemetery and we would encourage anyone with stories about burials of the women in Bohermore to contact us”, continued Jacquie.
Private contact is also welcome and confidentiality is guaranteed.
Note to Editor:
John Tierney and his team at Eachtra have been involved in grassroots and community-led heritage projects focusing on historic graveyards and using grave memorials as sources for historic research in over 500 Irish community surveys.
In 2016, COPE Galway Waterside House worked with 314 individual women & their 158 children experiencing Domestic Violence. The service provided 720 outreach appointments, 161 court accompaniments and answered 1709 support and crisis calls. Due to lack of space, the service was unable to accommodate 204 women with 246 children who requested refuge 249 times.
Funding for the New Refuge Project is progressing well – if you wish to make a donation please contact Jacquie Horan at 091 778 750. Thank you.
- Published in Press Releases