Flowers Laid in Memory of Ross Laundry Women
New Ross Standard
March 25, 2016
A large crowd gathered despite the inclement weather conditions to lay flowers in homage to women who died behind the walls of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Magdalene Laundry. With the demolition of St Aidan's Industrial school, which formed part of the Good Shepherd campus in New Ross, in December 2015, the communal grave in St Stephen's cemetery offers the only visual reminder of the Magdalene legacy in New Ross.
It is estimated that at least 1,663 former Magdalene women are buried in cemeteries across Ireland, many of them in unmarked graves.
The memorial marked International Women's Day and was held in unison with commemorations at other Magdalene locations throughout the country. This year a flag designed by Nancy Rochford-Flynn for the commemoration was raised by laundry survivor Maureen Sullivan, to place Ireland's once anonymous daughters within their rightful position in society.
Colourful bunting made by members of the Southend Women Social History group, Wexford town, brightened up the graveside. These ladies were also in attendance on the day. Readers included Martina Kavanagh, Kathleen Buggy, Jenny Murphy O' Neill and Niamh Walsh.
6-year-old Meadhbh Flynn placed a flower on the grave for each of the 62 women buried. Flowers made by the children from New Ross Educate Together National School were placed on the grave offering another welcome element to this inter-generational gathering.
The ceremony ended with a musical composition entitled 'The Emasculated Magdalene's Innocence', penned and performed by local musician Michael Fottrell especially for this third anniversary remembrance ceremony.
Ms Rochford-Flynn is an interdisciplinary artist and a community art activist. She is a supporter of JFMR Advocacy group, and has paid homage to women who suffered incarceration in Ireland's Magdalene Laundries through her work. Ms Rochford-Flynn has worked with the Waterford Memories project as a research assistant and is completing an M.A. by Research in Limerick Institute of Technology in SMART Age Research exploring Emotional Resilience.
She said: 'A special word of gratitude to local businesses that very generously sponsored the event,' and she thanked Corcoran's public house for the generous hospitality shown.
New Ross Standard