Magdalene Laundries or Labour Camps?

Magdalene Laundries or Labour Camps? Ireland’s ‘Rule of Silence’


Image by visual artist Owen Boss courtesy of Anu Productions

In this episode of The Future State of Ireland podcast series, Miriam Haughton, a graduate researcher in the School of English, Drama and Film at UCD, offers a performance analysis of Laundry (winner of ‘Best Production’, Irish Times Theatre Awards 2012), detailing how the founding principles of national freedom – the Roman Catholic faith and independent governance – ensured only certain individuals and groups were free, while others were hidden, silenced, punished and incarcerated for life. Control of the female body existed at the heart of these national power interests, as did careful management of the family unit proper. Visibility, invisibility, free speech, individual agency and access to political power were all tightly managed privileges in this culture of national, religious and sexual control and overt gender discrimination.

If you wish to discuss this further with Miriam Haughton you can reach her on miriamhaughton[at]