Staying In Tonight?


Former Magdalene Laundry resident Christina Mulcahy, born in 1918, from Carrigan, Co Galway, recalls being parted from her son, in Steve Humphries’ 1998 documentary Sex In A Cold Climate.

The documentary looks at the lives of four women sent to the institutions for becoming pregnant outside marriage, after being sexually assaulted for “being too pretty”.

It was aired in March, 1998, on Channel 4.

The Irish Times reported at that time:

“For 2 1/2 hours after Channel 4 screened its documentary, Witness: Sex in a Cold Climate, on Monday night trained counsellors answered calls from hundreds of distressed men and women who poured out their anger and horror at the treatment of women in the Magdalene institutions. Mr Alan Hitchen, a counsellor specialising in bereavement and sexual problems, said: “There was a great deal of distress. A lot of the anger stemmed from the fact that some people had tried, through the Magdalene system, to find out who their mothers or siblings were. They seemed to be hitting a wall of silence. Some of those who had lived through the system said they had tried to tell people that this was going on but no one would believe them.”


The documentary – we understand – was never shown on RTE.

It was broadcast on TV3 in 2003.

And was the inspiration for Peter Mullan’s film The Magdalene Sisters.

Watch the full documentary here.

9 thoughts on “Staying In Tonight?

  1. SDaedalus

    Absolutely. To set out to take a soul and break it for its own good and turn all normal human feelings into instruments of pain and shame is a terrible thing. And that is what they did.

  2. Zynks

    This is terribly sad. What happened is vile and it is a huge embarrassment for this country, but the story of these women must be told to the world so this never happens again.

    1. deliverusfromevil

      God obviously wanted it to happen. A good mass should sort it out for you, less of that thinking.

  3. Kolmo

    A grim time.Thoroughly grim. A replacement community service should be thought up to facilitate getting rid of the Catholic Church, there are some good people in it, but it only because they are good people, not because they are catholic.

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