The Good Shepherd Magdalen Asylum, Limerick
Limerick's original Magdalen Asylum was opened in 1826 by Rev. Maurice Fitzgibbon of St. Michael's parish. Situated in Newgate Lane, it was managed by a Mrs. Meade, and prostitutes sometimes entered the Refuge from the nearby city jail. Shortly afterwards, the penitents were moved to a more suitable premises on the site in Clare Street that would eventually house the Provincial Monastery of the Congregation of the Good Shepherd. It is shown that some of the women were ill on arrival, their departure for the union hospital in particular, indicating pregnancy or venereal disease. Nevertheless, the number of deaths in the institution, and the frequency with which women left for hospital was unusually high, and poor accommodation may well have been a contributory factor. The inmates in Limerick recall the despair, the fear of never leaving, and the life of “living hell”.
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