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Sunday 21 April 2019

Laundry legacy: Artistic response to Magdalenes

Exhibitions: National Museum of Ireland director Lynn Scarff at the launch of the programme of activity for 2019. Photo: Julien Behal
Exhibitions: National Museum of Ireland director Lynn Scarff at the launch of the programme of activity for 2019. Photo: Julien Behal

Ian Begley and Ralph Riegel

The National Museum is launching a new exhibition on the legacy of Magdalene laundries and mother and baby homes in Ireland.

The exhibition, by glass artist Alison Lowry, will be an "artistic response" to the Catholic-led institutions that were once prominent throughout the country.

Opening on March 27, and running until 2020 at the Museum of Decorative Arts and History at Collins Barracks, Dublin, '(A) Dressing Our Hidden Truths' will also explore "the ongoing hidden truths of rape culture, consent and domestic violence".

The exhibition combines art and artefacts, including aprons inspired by the Magdalene laundries, photographs of the incarcerated women, and audio testimonies.

Its announcement comes as the National Museum of Ireland reveals its programme of activities for 2019.

Meanwhile, campaigners have demanded the site of a notorious mother and baby home be fully excavated after they claimed a newly discovered historic map indicated a plot where hundreds of babies could be buried.

Bessborough in Cork, which at one time was Ireland's largest mother and baby home, is infamous for having one of the highest infant mortality rates of any such facility.

Now, campaigners claim a newly discovered map has indicated a burial site on the former mother and baby home site.

They fear hundreds of babies could have been interred there over almost six decades.

Campaigner Maureen Considine said: "While I have seen the words 'burial ground' on other maps, the location of the burial ground was within the folly area. But this burial ground indicates a much bigger area and also to the southern and south-eastern side of the folly which is not the area indicated previously."

Irish Independent

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