Hanna Greally (1925-87)

WorksReferences


Life
[Johanna Greally] b. Athlone; studied as a nurse during the Blitz but suffered a nervous breakdown and returned home unqualified; following the death of her father, her mother acquiesced in suggestions that she should be sent away; incarcerated in St. Loman’s psychiatric hospital (‘the big house’), Mullingar, 1944-62, being detained against her will after her mother’s death, in the absence or unwillingness of relatives to give her an outside address; unwarrantably subjected to insulin, ECT, and paraldehyde treatments;
 
re-trained in Coolamber House as housekeeper on release and worked in Ireland and England; spent her last years in Fourmilehouse, Roscommon; contrib. letters, poems and autobiographical pieces to Roscommon Champion; issued Bird’s Nest Soup (1971), a movingly-written memoir; became an icon of custodial injustice in Ireland in the 1980s and after; d. 15 Aug. 1987.

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Works
Hanna Greally, Bird’s Nest Soup (Dublin: Attic Press 1971, 1987, 2009), 160pp.

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References
Remembering Hanna Greally’ was produced by Well Said Productions for Ros FM (15 Aug. 2007): Participants recall Hanna, including Dr. Eilís Ward (UCG), who has studied her book and her experience closely and theorises that Hanna experienced ‘civil death’ through total institutionalisation. Available at Our Media website [online].

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