In the mid-19th century, secular asylums in Ireland were taken over by the Catholic Church and converted into Magdalene Asylums. They were originally intended to serve as a refuge for prostitutes, but their numbers grew, along with the number of abandoned children due to the Potato Famine. The industrial orphanages that arose as a consequence were exposed long ago for their cruelties in the treatment meted out to their helpless charges. Yet amazingly, the last Magdalene Asylum didn’t close until 1996. These supposed Brides of Christ took charge of women from poor or nonexistent families, some for having children out of wedlock, others for having “provoked” their own rapes by possessing potentially “sinful” attributes, still others for simply being judged too dangerously attractive to avoid being plunged into sin with pitifully susceptible males. Curiously, oversexed boys and men were never consigned to monasteries to repent of their sins, and as we’ve now come to know, misbehaving priests were never, ever disciplined.
This mental hospital was a rather large complex which included a sanatorium and even a jail. Some of the buildings had been renovated and are now apartments. On my trip here, there was a gathering right outside on the lawn of this building which looked like a private party of high-class individuals. The halls here were large so you could hear their voices from anywhere in the building, which made it a bit unnerving since it sounded like they were in the building.