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STOLEN is the story of women who had the misfortune to fall pregnant ‘out of wedlock’ in an Ireland that heavily influenced by the Catholic Church. Over 80,000 unmarried mothers were incarcerated in institutions run by nuns from 1922 to 1998. Mothers and babies were cruelly separated shortly after birth with thousands of babies taken for adoption and their birth records rendered untraceable. 9,000 infants died from 1922 to 1998, a rate sometimes five times the national average. Others were fostered out as cheap farm labour from the age of six.
It was a history that was largely ignored until the discovery that 796 babies had died between 1925 and 1961 in the Tuam Mother and Baby Home alone. Evidence of tiny remains found in an underground sewage plant on the site of the former home caused outrage and alarm escalated over what happened in other institutions such as Bessborough in Cork and Sean Ross Abbey in Tipperary where more children died without burial records. The Irish government announced an investigation into Mother and Baby homes.
Survivors relate their experiences of cruelty and loss and of happier outcomes in some cases, interwoven with historical analysis and artists’ responses to what happened.
Official Selection London Irish Film Festival 2023 - World premiere


Type of film
Running Time
103 min
Margo Harkin
Martha O'Neill
Margo Harkin
John Murphy and Patrick Hodgins
Margo Harkin
Director of Photography
Colm Hoban
Production Designer
Padraig O'Neill (Development), Rita Duffy (Finale)
Hugh Fox, Trevor McKenna, David Dolan
Deirdre Gribbin
With Contributions from
Anna Corrigan, Teresa Collins, Marie Arbuckle, Colleen Anderson, Noelle Brown, Patrick O'Flaherty, Adele Johnston, JoAnne Neary

Production status


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Last updated 11th July 2023

Production Company

A Besom Productions (UK), Wildfire Films (IE) production

Besom Productions
13 Glenabbey Cottages
Upper Galliagh Road
BT48 8LP
Northern Ireland
+44 (0)77642 59182