Philomena Lee

Philomena Lee was born in Newcastle West but when, at the age of 18, she became pregnant, she was sent to Sean Ross Abbey, Roscrea, a home for unwed mothers.

After giving birth to her son, she lived and worked there with her child until she was 22 when she was forced to sign adoption papers.

Her son then aged 3, was taken to the US. The extraordinary story of her search for that son, Michael, in later life is told by Martin Sixsmith in his book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee.

It was a story that became known world-wide through the film Philomena in 2013. Philomena moved to England as a young woman, where she worked as a nurse. She married and reared two other children. She continues to be an advocate for adoption rights.