Margaret's Story | Enable Ireland

Personal Stories

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Margaret's Story

Margaret in wheelchair with her sister, President Higgins and his dogMy name is Margaret. I live in St Margarets home in Donnybrook.  I grew up working in the Magdalene Laundries. It was very tough. We were worked like slaves, and didn’t get much money for it. 

The president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, wanted to hear what went on in the Laundries, and invited us all to an event to honour the forgotten women of the Magdalene Laundries.

My sister Helen surprised me the day went by coming all the way from Pennsylvania in America, to come with me. It was so lovely to see her. 

I went to the president’s house, Aras an Uachtarain, where we got a tour.  Michael D Higgins was there and he gave a speech, and he said how sorry he was to hear about what went on. I also managed to get a picture with the President and my sister. 

Later on that evening we were invited to dinner in the Mansion House which was attended by lots of people, including the Lord Mayor of Dublin and the Minister for Justice. As we were walking into the Mansion House, there were lots of people from the public cheering us on. it made me feel really good that we had support from the public about what when on in the Laundries. 

While I was at the dinner, there were some people from the press and they were asking me about my experience from the Laundries, and I told them how we worked liked slaves and didn’t get much money. 

After the dinner there was some entertainment for the guests attending-Christy Moore, Mary Byrne, The Three Tenors Ireland and Paul Harington and Charlie Mc Gettigan, who sang "Rock and Roll Kids" in the Eurovision. 

Michael D Higgins put us up in the City West Hotel for two nights, where Helen and I stayed and I enjoyed it very much. There was also entertainment provided for us at night time.

When leaving the hotel all the women were given a candle and a necklace as a present to mark the occasion and the event that took place. 

It was good to be able to speak about my experience and what happened. I will never forget this day.