Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Thursday 1 June 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# savita
Hundreds of heartfelt notes left at mural of Savita Halappanavar are published online
The personal messages left in tribute to Savita will now be preserved and accessible in the future.

HUNDREDS OF PERSONAL messages left by the public at a mural of Savita Halappanavar during the 2018 referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment have been captured and published online. 

Dublin City Council’s Library and Archive (DCLA) have published photographs of the messages on the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI), so that the notes left in tribute to Savita will survive into the future. 

The original mural was painted by the artist ‘Aches’ on South Richmond Street beside the Bernard Shaw pub. 

savita 064

Savita, a dentist, died in 2013 in University Hospital Galway while she was 17 weeks pregnant. 

Doctors on the ward believed that she was in the middle of a miscarriage or about to miscarry, but when she and her husband asked about the option of using medicine to induce miscarriage – as Savita was at risk of infection and sepsis – they were told that the doctors hands were “tied” as long as a foetal heartbeat was present, under Irish law. 

Savita tragically died after a week in hospital, and the cause of her death was recorded as severe sepsis, E.coli in the bloodstream and a miscarriage. 

Savita’s death sparked widespread calls to repeal the eighth amendment to Ireland’s constitution, which significantly prevented legal access to abortion. 

 Recently, crowds marched through Dublin to mark the 10th anniversary of Savita’s death. 

Director of the National Women’s Council Orla O’Connor, speaking on the day of the anniversary (29 October), said that Savita’s death was a “turning point in Ireland as the public clearly saw the harms and risk to women’s lives because of the eighth amendment”. 

During the referendum campaign in 2018 over 1,200 messages were left at the mural dedicated to Savita in Dublin. 

Now, thanks to the archiving project, these messages will be accessible for everyone online. 

Dublin City Archivist Lorraine McLoughlin said that the memorial and notes captured in the archived photos provide us with evidence of “this unique moment in history”. 

“Capturing and preserving these key moments in the history and story of Dublin – and making them available to future generations – are key functions of Dublin City Archives, a service of Dublin City Council,” she added. 


The Journal / YouTube


There were an estimated 1,200 cards left on the mural, and the archivists have been processing 200 images, with around cards visible in each one. 

Digital Archivist for Archiving Reproductive Health, Clare Lanigan, said: “Archiving Reproductive Health has been working since 2021 to collect and archive digital material relating to the story of reproductive rights in Ireland.”

 “The referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment was a key part of that story, and the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar woke up many people to the urgent need for repeal. 

“We’re glad to be able to work with DCLA on publishing this collection, and we hope that it honours the memory of Savita and the heartfelt notes left by so many ordinary people during those memorable days in 2018,” she added. 

The Savita Halappanavar Memorial Collection can be viewed and downloaded on DRI. 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment

    Leave a commentcancel