Leopardstown Park Hospital celebrates its centenary

Leopardstown Park Hospital in Dublin is celebrating its centenary during 2017 and on Saturday June 17, the hospital community celebrated in style, writes Adrian Ahern.

Pictured at the Leopardstown Park Hospital centenary celebrations were. Eugene F. Magee Chairman of Leopardstown Park Hospital Board, His Grace Diarmuid Martin D.D., Archbishop of Dublin, Minister Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs, H.E. Robin Barnett, British Ambassador and Ann Marie O’Grady, Chief Executive, Leopardstown Park Hospital
Pictured at the Leopardstown Park Hospital centenary celebrations were. Eugene F. Magee Chairman of Leopardstown Park Hospital Board, His Grace Diarmuid Martin D.D., Archbishop of Dublin, Minister Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs, H.E. Robin Barnett, British Ambassador and Ann Marie O’Grady, Chief Executive, Leopardstown Park Hospital

A special concert hosted by Mr. Eugene F. Magee, Chairman of the Board of Leopardsown Park Hospital comprised a joint performance by the Army Number 1 Band of the Defence Forces and the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment. The highlight for many was the performance of the pipes which ended the concert.

The musical programme entertained the large invited audience of residents, relatives, staff, retired staff, Board members and Trustees of the Hospital, and included many marches, military music and firm favourites.

Captain Fergal Carroll, conducts the joint bands of the Army No. 1 Band and Band of the Royal Irish Regiment
Captain Fergal Carroll, conducts the joint bands of the Army No. 1 Band and Band of the Royal Irish Regiment

The guests included the British Ambassador, H. E. Robert Barnett, the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, Cllr, Cormac Devlin, Cathaoirleach, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Senior Military personnel and current and former members of the Hospital Board and Trustees.

Ann Marie O’Grady, Chief Executive, welcomed all on behalf of the Hospital and Chairman Eugene Magee gave a brief flavour of the hospital’s one hundred year history and illustrated hospital life one hundred years ago through some extracts from Dr. Eoin Kinsella’s history of the hospital entitled “Leopardstown Park Hospital 1917-2017: A Home for Wounded Soldiers,” which was launched on the day.

Band Master Richard Douglas, conducts the joint bands of the Army No. 1 Band and Band of the Royal Irish Regiment
Band Master Richard Douglas, conducts the joint bands of the Army No. 1 Band and Band of the Royal Irish Regiment

Leopardstown Park Hospital was the home to the Talbot Powers, of the Power whiskey family and the house was built in the 1790s. It was Gertrude who made the gift of Leopardstown Park to the Ministry of Pensions for the treatment of Irish veterans of the First World War and preparations were made to convert the house into a home for wounded soldiers, it later specialised in the treatment of shell shock.

Leopardstown Park Hospital was one of a hundred voluntary hospitals established between 1914 and 1918 to help meet the needs of wounded soldiers.

Minister Humphreys paid tribute to the dedicated staff of the hospital and referred to the concert ”in the context of the significant State commemorations to mark the key events of the Decade of Centenaries which has provided an opportunity to remember and reflect on the complex narratives surrounding Irelands participation in the Great war.”

Mr. Magee expressed his gratitude to all the volunteers and staff who helped make the day such a success and thanked the Gardaí and Defence Forces personnel for making the day such a memorable one.
Leopardstown Park Hospital has for many years provided a range of services to the community including respite care, day services, and long term residential care and forms an important part in the provision of older people’s services in the South Dublin area.

As it begins its next century, the Hospital is developing exciting plans to construct a new modern hospital on the Foxrock site to continue to respond to the needs of its community.