An unwilling star: Adoption rights icon Philomena Lee

Philomena Lee had to give up her son Anthony while still in her teens. Here, she discusses the power of forgiveness, the cruelty of the mother and baby homes, and why Ireland needs to give people their true identities back

21st July, 2019
Philomena Lee: ‘I really never would have found Michael if it hadn’t been for Jane’ Pic: Fergal PhillipS

Philomena Lee’s story inspired a book and an Oscar-nominated film, making her an inadvertent symbol for adoption rights, but all she ever wanted was to find her son.

Speaking with Philomena, one wouldn’t imagine she had ever experienced a bad day in her life.The 86-year-old is dressed immaculately, quick to laugh, with twinkling eyes and a disarming sense of humour, oozing positivity and a lust for life. I meet her on what would...

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