This convent was closed soon after the turn of the century and has been neglected ever since. Grand plans for a new set of apartments fell apart a few years after the convent’s closure and since then the owner has given the site a wide berth. There seems to be no effort to secure it any more and the site is now falling apart. It has been heavily vandalised and stripped of anything of value (including what seems like every inch of metal!) It’s a shame to see how quickly the building and the attached chapel have deteriorated in this time. Thanks to fellow explorer, Stellaluna for showing me around the site.
High Park Convent, when it was in use, was infact one of the notorious Magdalene laundries which were dotted around Ireland at the time. These laundries were terrible places where women were sent to live and work in, under the control of the nuns who ran these buildings. They were essentially prisons. Single mothers, unfaithful women and women who had committed anything immoral could be sent here by their families. Many were even sent by the courts for committing petty crimes. Most women ended up being left here and forgotten about, living and dying behind the walls of these laundries. Scarily the last Magdalene laundry in Ireland only closed in 1996. The abuse committed by the order of nuns in these laundries over this time was extremely damaging and it’s amazing that so many of them were left open for so long.
The Magdalene laundry here in High Park was featured in the news a few years back when 155 bodies were found and exhumed from a mass grave. Some more history on the “convent” here: http://www.netreach.net/~steed/portfolio/write/magdalene.html
The large laundry building has now been knocked down and a block of apartments has been built in it’s place. All that remains is the convent building. Half of this building is now used as a hostel for the homeless but half of it lies derelict to the rear of the hostel. This part of the convent seems to have been converted into use as a school at some stage in the past. Whether this was part of the convent or was one of the industrial schools that was located in the area I’m not 100% sure on. Either way, knowing the history of this building and the fact that it is nearly untouched, means this was a bit of an eerie explore.