Documentary on One

Looking for Fairytale Castles

This award winning documentary tells the story of Jenny Tyrell who was adopted in 1972. But, Jenny was almost 9 before she found out she was adopted. In this story, Jenny and her birth mother reunite and speak candidly about the hurt, the pain and the love.

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4.3/5 (52 ratings)

Documentary maker: Nicoline Greer

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Documentary maker: Peter Woods

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Looking for Fairytale Castles

The 1970s was the decade that saw the biggest amount of adoptions recorded in Ireland.

It was a time when it was socially entirely unacceptable for an unmarried woman to keep a baby. Nearly 13,000 babies were given up by their birth parents

A baby named Martina was born on 11th April 1972. Six weeks later Martina got a new name - Jenny – when she was adopted by Magdalene and Brendan Tyrell.

When she was nine years old, Jenny found out that, unlike her four younger siblings, she was adopted.

Though she loved her parents and siblings very much, it sparked a curiosity about her background that she could not shake.

At the end of 20, Jenny decided to trace her birth parents and met her birth mother for the first time. However it was to be fourteen years until she felt ready to contact her again.

In this documentary, both Jenny and her birth mother speak candidly about the hurt and the pain caused by the adoption process and the journey that they have been on to get to know each other after 36 years apart.


- In order to protect the identity of Jenny’s birth mother, an actor voiced up the interviews with Jenny’s birth mother.

Narrated by Eva Tryell.

Voice of birth mother by Liz Lloyd.

Compiled by Nicoline Greer

Production Supervision by Peter Woods

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this documentary, you may be interested in contacting Barnardo’s Post-Adoption Service.

A helpline is open every Tuesday and Thursday between 10am and 2pm on 01 454 6388. Or you can call Barnardo’s during office hours on 01 453 0355. More information is available on

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries

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