Dr. Halliday Sutherland

"Dr. Halliday Sutherland is a born writer, especially a born story-teller. Dr. Sutherland, who is distinguished in medicine, is an amateur in the sense that he only writes when he has nothing better to do. But when he does, it could hardly be done better” – G.K. Chesterton

Magdalene Laundry

This page provides a guide to Dr Sutherland’s visit to the Magdalene Laundry at Galway in April 1955 and provides links to the materials on this site.


Dr Halliday Sutherland visits the Mother and Baby Home at Tuam and the Magdalene Laundry at Galway.

Permission to visit to the Galway Laundry was granted by the Bishop of Galway on condition that anything Sutherland wrote would be subject to the approval of the Mother Superior.


Sutherland sends his manuscript to the Mother Superior. She returns it with her alterations on 13th October 1955.


“Irish Journey” by Dr Halliday Sutherland published. It includes the censored version of his visit to the Galway Laundry.


The American edition of “Irish Journey” published and Dr Sutherland added this foreword:

In 1955 I wrote Irish Journey and this book has been damned by faint praise from every newspaper critic in Ireland. I was not surprised, because all the critics have ignored my main criticism, which concerns the Irish secular clergy. In my opinion they have too much political power. They hold themselves aloof from their people, and are too fond of money.

In the bad old days, when Ireland was subject to the foreign power of England, the parish priest was probably the only educated man in an Irish village. The foreign power has been driven out, the people are better educated, but the parish priest is loathe to relinquish his political power.

During my Irish holiday, I was assaulted by a total stranger in a Tipperary hotel. The incident was reported in all the Dublin papers, and when I returned to my Dublin hotel, the receptionist said to me, “Will you be writing about it?” I told her I would, and she replied, “That won’t be nice.” She was obviously afraid that the record of this incident would spoil Ireland as a show place.

Ireland is certainly a wonderful show place, and heaven may reflect Killarney; but as a Scotsman I think Loch Lomond, twenty miles from Glasgow, is more beautiful.

Another day a well-known man called at the hotel to see me. I met him in the lounge, but he asked me out to his car, I asked him where we were going and he said, “Nowhere, but there were too many people in the lounge who might overhear what I am going to ask you, and that is not to mention me in your book.”

“And why not?”

“They wouldn’t like it.”

I know that he meant the Irish hierarchy, It is strange how the shadow of the hierarchy falls on the most unexpected places in the public life of Ireland.

If Ireland goes communist within the next ten years, I think the secular clergy will be to blame.

The “Catholic Medical Guardian” of London gave my book an excellent review and said that my account of the assault on myself in a Tipperary hotel recalled the best chapters in “Handy Andy”. But a copy of my book was sent to a nun in Dublin who replied, “This book should be burnt by the public hangman.”

I only hope that what I have written will be more appreciated in the clearer air in the United States of America.


Ann Ferris T.D. article for the The Journal is published. My brother mentions the article to me.


Dr Sutherland’s papers are found. They include the uncensored manuscript. I contact Ann Ferris to let her know.


Ann Ferris’ speech in the Dáil Éireannon mentions the manuscript and how they fit into the “large jigsaw puzzle known as ‘religious Ireland'”.

The newspaper articles published about the discovery of the manuscript are shown in the section labelled “In the media”.

Mark Sutherland
Curator, hallidaysutherland.com

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Centenary of the Stopes v. Sutherland libel trial

February 21st, 2023
4.5 years to go.